Cover image for The big dig : reshaping an American city
The big dig : reshaping an American city
Vanderwarker, Peter.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Boston : Little, Brown and Company, [2001]

Physical Description:
56 pages : color illustrations, maps ; 26 cm
In The Big Dig, we are taken behind the scenes of the Central Artery/Third Harbor Tunnel Project to discover how traffic in Boston got to be so bad in the first place, and how poor planning led to an elevated highway that divided the city and made traffic worse.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TE25.B67 V36 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



What's going on in Boston? In The Big Dig, photographer Vanderwarker takes readers behind the scenes of the largest public construction project in American history: the Central Artery Tunnel Project in Boston Harbor. Full-color photos.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 5-8. In the 1950s, the city of Boston built an elevated highway right through the middle of downtown. In its zeal to solve one urban crisis, however, it created another by fracturing the neighborhoods. Now, thanks to the Big Dig, the country's largest public construction project, the city is stitching itself back together. The three-part project will replace the existing highway with a larger underground one, a third tunnel beneath Boston Harbor, and the world's widest cable-stayed bridge. Vandewarker takes readers from funding to planning to construction, including thorough descriptions of building techniques, as well as colorful photos, diagrams, and maps. He documents all the special challenges of the endeavor: tunneling beneath an active highway and railroad network, sinking concrete and steel channels with the aid of global positioning systems, and more. Sidebars throughout the book help humanize this large-scale feat by introducing a few of the men and women--from urban planners and archaeologists to ironworkers--who are contributing to the renovation. A glossary is appended. --Randy Meyer

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-The "Big Dig" is the largest and most complex (and some might add, disruptive) U.S. transportation reconstruction project to date. Officially known as the Central Artery/Tunnel Project, the "dig" began in 1991, with an estimated 14 billion dollar price tag and a 20-year time frame, as an effort to solve Boston's massive traffic problems. Separate chapters are devoted to the four major elements of the project: the staged construction of tunnels, bridges and viaducts, aboveground highways, and surface roads and rights-of-way. These nuts-and-bolts descriptions are framed by an informative introduction with pertinent Boston history and a Central Artery timeline and a concluding essay on the relationship between urban infrastructure and quality of life. Vibrant, full-color photographs appear throughout and numerous maps and diagrams are carefully deployed to further enhance understanding of the text. A glossary of 15 construction terms highlighted in the text is somewhat superfluous. Vanderwarker succeeds in reducing a highly complex endeavor to comprehensible parts in a straightforward, lucid narrative. An impressive true-life tale of American ingenuity.-Mary Ann Carcich, Mattituck-Laurel Public Library, Mattituck, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Something big is happening in Boston ...p. 4
Under the Harbor: The Ted Williams Tunnelp. 18
Over a Subway and Under a Railroadp. 26
Under the City: Building the New Central Arteryp. 36
Out of a Tunnel and Over the River: The Charles River Crossingp. 44
Conclusion: Maintaining and updating ...p. 54
Glossaryp. 56