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Big Dig Manufacturer Still Advertising It Makes Lights00:55
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The company that made the now-corroding lights for the Big Dig tunnels is still advertising* that it makes tunnel lighting. But that's not what officials at the company said last week.

When a light fixture fell onto the roadway of the I-93 tunnel in February, the highway director for Greater Boston went back to the company that originally made the lights for the Big Dig. He asked them whether other customers are encountering similar problems, such as peeling paint and corroding metal.

Two days later, Secretary of Transportation Jeffrey Mullan held a news conference with the fallen light on a table.

"The manufacturer is NuArt Lighting, in Fullerton, Calif.," Mullan announced.

NuArt was bought by National Signal Corp. in 2006. Last week, National Signal issued a statement saying it did not make or install the lighting fixtures in the Big Dig tunnels. The Boston Globe reported that National Signal officials said the company no longer makes overhead lighting for tunnels.

But go to nuartlighting.com, and, as of Monday afternoon, you could see a picture of a lighted tunnel.

The caption for the photo says: "If you need to illuminate a sign, walkway, or even a tunnel, you are certain to find a NuArt light fixture to fit the application."

We called NuArt's customer service line and we were told that the company does sell tunnel lighting.

We pointed this discrepancy out to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, and a spokesman said officials there are as dumbfounded as we are. State officials say they haven't heard back from National Signal.

*Update: A spokeswoman for National Signal, the company that owns NuArt, says NuArt’s website depicting tunnel lighting is out-of-date. She says the website was formed when National Signal acquired the NuArt brand in 2006. She says since then, the company has worked on a few tunnels providing replacement parts or retrofits.

This program aired on March 21, 2011.

Fred Thys Twitter Reporter
Fred Thys reports on politics and higher education for WBUR.

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