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Patrick Administration Defends Handling Of Big Dig Lights

Criticism continued Thursday over news that state transportation officials did not immediately reveal that a light fixture fell inside a Big Dig tunnel last month.

"It's important, I think for the public safety and all of us, to have known at that point that one of the lights had fallen," said Lynn state Sen. Thomas McGee, chair of the Transportation Committee. "It may have been an isolated incident, but that they were taking action to make sure that no other lights would fall."

State officials revealed Wednesday that a 110-pound light fixture fell onto the road on Feb. 8, missing cars traveling below. No one was injured.

Officials say they're working to fix a corrosion problem that's been identified in about 1 percent of the light fixtures in Big Dig tunnels.

The Patrick administration defended the decision not to disclose the issue until a six-week inspection was completed.

Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray told The Associated Press that he supported the decision to wait until after a full inspection of the other light fixtures was finished before alerting the public to the problem.

With reporting from the WBUR Newsroom and The Associated Press.

This program aired on March 17, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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