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Consulting firm hired to investigate itself (10/27)

A consulting firm that is being investigated in a fatal tunnel collapse in Boston was ordered to stop helping inspect repairs, shortly after news reports revealed that the state had hired it for the job.

Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff, the project manager for the $14.6 billion highway project, had been doing daily field inspections of work in the Interstate 90 connector tunnel, a company spokesman told the Boston Herald for a story published Tuesday.

The state transportation department sought the company’s help. “We’ll do what we’re asked to help support the reopening of the tunnel,” said Andy Paven, a spokesman for Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff.

The company is among the entities being investigated by state and federal authorities since a ceiling panel collapse killed a woman in July. No findings have been issued, and the company has said it stands by its work.

Republican Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey – acting as governor while Governor Mitt Romney is out of state and running to succeed him as he explores a presidential bid – said she told Transportation Secretary John Cogliano on Tuesday to halt any involvement by Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff in the inspections. Both Healey and Romney have criticized the company’s oversight of the Big Dig project in the past.

Cogliano would not tell the Associated Press who asked the firm to help with inspections, saying only, “I take full responsibility.”

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