BOSTON-The leak in the Fort Point Channel tunnel that set the Big Dig’s schedule back at least four months and cost millions of dollars to repair is finally plugged, enabling the Ted Willams Tunnel to open within a year.

The leak unexpectedly sprung this past summer, flooding the tunnel. Engineers on the Big Dig, the massive $14.5 billion highway construction project here, have been working since to repair the leak.

“We are cautiously optimistic that it will hold steadfast for the next few weeks,” Sean O’Neill, spokesperson for the project tells, “but we are still dealing with mother nature. We have to let it set for two to three weeks so we can feel secure excavating further.” If the repair holds, the Ted Williams Tunnel will open by January 2003, four months behind the scheduled opening. O’Neill says that the delay was built into the contingency plan.

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