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Daniel J. McNichol papers

 Collection
Identifier: M194

Scope and Content Note

The collection documents Daniel McNichol's work with the “Big Dig” project as Deputy Director for Public Affairs and later as independent author. The majority of the materials are subject files containing newspaper clippings and reports on the project. Included in the material are photographs and reports documenting Boston's development starting from the 1760s including the 1950s construction of the John F. Fitzgerald Expressway known as the Central Artery. All three of McNichol's “Big Dig” books are documented in the collection. The collection also includes architectural and engineering plans, audio recordings, book drafts, construction material, correspondence, newspaper clippings, memorabilia, photographs, reports, and video recordings. The strength of the collection is the audio-visual materials that document McNichol's interviews, presentations, and tours for national and local news and media agencies. The collection illustrates the issues that the “Big Dig” project faced from a media perspective.

Dates

  • 1764-2008 (bulk 1989-2008)

Creator

Language of Materials

Materials entirely in English.

Conditions Governing Access:

The collection is unrestricted.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use:

Copyright restrictions may apply.

Historical Note

In 1993, Daniel McNichol was hired by the Massachusetts Highway Department: Central Artery/Tunnel and Contractors Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff serving in several positions, including Deputy Director for Public Affairs and spokesperson for the “Big Dig” project. As spokesperson, McNichol interacted with numerous news and media agencies such as the BBC, Discovery Channel, and The New York Times. He left the project in 2000 in order to write his first book, The Big Dig. The book detailed the construction and technological aspects of the project and its politics and effects upon the community. Photographer Andy Ryan provided photography for the book. He published his second work, The Big Dig at Night, the subsequent year, documenting the hazardous third shift with photography by Stephen SetteDucati. A third book, The Big Dig: Trivia Quiz Book, was published in 2002.

As an author and journalist McNichol has published numerous articles and works related to engineering and construction. He has appeared on programs such as ABC World News Tonight, BBC, CBS News, CNN, Discovery Channel, Fox News, History Channel, MSNBC, and National Public Radio. In 2008, he was awarded the Construction Writers Association's Robert F. Boger Award for chronicling Minnesota's disastrous Interstate 35 West bridge collapse.

The Central Artery/Tunnel Project, known as the “Big Dig,” was a Massachusetts Department of Transportation construction project aimed to reduce traffic congestion and improve the environment in Boston, Massachusetts. Initial planning and environmental impact studies began in 1982. In April 1987, the United States Congress approved federal funding for the project, allotting $755 million for fiscal year 1990. Construction started in September 1991, and the first major milestone was reached in 1995 with the opening of the Ted Williams Tunnel to commercial traffic. Substantial completion of the project was reached on January 13, 2006: the deteriorating six-lane Interstate 93 John F. Fitzgerald Expressway had been replaced with the eight-to-ten-lane state of the art Thomas P. O'Neill Jr. Tunnel, the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill and Leverett Circle Connector Bridges over the Charles River were added, Interstate 90 was extended to Logan International Airport and Route 1A with the addition of the Fort Point and Ted Williams Tunnels, and more than 300 acres of open land reconnecting downtown to the waterfront was created as a result.

Chronology

  • 1986 Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff begins work as management consultant
  • 1987 Congress approves funding and scope
  • 1988 Archaeological surveys begin
  • 1990 Congress allocates $755 million
  • 1991 Ted Williams Tunnel construction begins
  • 1992 $1 billion in design and construction contracts in progress
  • 1993 Daniel McNichol is hired by Massachusetts Highway Department: Central Artery/Tunnel and Contractors Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff
  • 1995 Ted Williams Tunnel opens
  • 1998 Charles River Crossing construction begins
  • 2000 Daniel McNichol leaves project
  • 2002 Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge completed
  • 2003 Interstate 93 Northbound and Southbound opens
  • 2004 Interstate 93 John F. Fitzgerald Expressway dismantled
  • 2005 Interstate 93 full opening
  • 2006 Spectacle Island Park opens to the public
1986
Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff begins work as management consultant
1987
Congress approves funding and scope
1988
Archaeological surveys begin
1990
Congress allocates $755 million
1991
Ted Williams Tunnel construction begins
1992
$1 billion in design and construction contracts in progress
1993
Daniel McNichol is hired by Massachusetts Highway Department: Central Artery/Tunnel and Contractors Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff
1995
Ted Williams Tunnel opens
1998
Charles River Crossing construction begins
2000
Daniel McNichol leaves project
2002
Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge completed
2003
Interstate 93 Northbound and Southbound opens
2004
Interstate 93 John F. Fitzgerald Expressway dismantled
2005
Interstate 93 full opening
2006
Spectacle Island Park opens to the public

Extent

14.48 cubic feet (20 containers, 2 tubes)

Overview

Daniel McNichol served as Deputy Director for Public Affairs and spokesperson for the “Big Dig” construction project in Boston, Massachusetts from 1993-2000. In 2000, he left the position to publish numerous articles and books about the project. The “Big Dig” project revitalized the Central Artery by replacing the elevated Interstate 93 with the Thomas P. O'Neill Jr. Tunnel and adding the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge. In addition, Interstate 90 was extended to Logan International Airport and Route 1A with the creation of the Fort Point and Ted William Tunnels.

Overview

The collection documents Daniel McNichol's work with the “Big Dig” project as Deputy Director for Public Affairs and later as an independent author from approximately 1993-2008. The collection includes architectural and engineering plans, audio recordings, book drafts, construction records and artifacts, correspondence, newspaper clippings, memorabilia, photographs, reports, and video recordings.

System of Arrangement:

Organized into five series: Series 1. Subject Files; Series 2. Publications; Series 3. Architectural and Engineering Plans; Series 4. Audio-Visual; and Series 5. Construction Material and Memorabilia.

Technical Access:

The records include eight Betacam video cassettes located in Series 4. Audio-Visual. The archives does not have the equipment to view this format.

Physical Location

11/4, 39/1-2, RS9/S1-2

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Received from Daniel J. McNichol on March 29, 2012.

Bibliography

  • Boston Athenæum. “Dan McNichol.” Accessed November 6, 2013. http://www.bostonathenaeum.org/node/1099.
  • Dan McNichol. “Bio.” Accessed November 6, 2013. http://www.danmcnichol.com.
  • LinkedIn. “Dan McNichol.” Accessed November 6, 2013. http://www.linkedin.com/pub/dan-mcnichol/5/56b/19.
  • Massachusetts Department of Transportation. “The Central Artery/Tunnel Project - The Big Dig.” Accessed November 6, 2013. http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/highway/TheBigDig.aspx.
  • McNichol, Daniel. The Big Dig: Trivia Quiz Book (Trivial Truth Series). New York: Silver Lining, 2002.
  • McNichol, Daniel, and Andy Ryan. The Big Dig. New York: Silver Lining, 2000.
  • McNichol, Daniel, and Stephen SetteDucati. The Big Dig at Night. New York: Silver Lining, 2001.
Title
Finding aid for the Daniel J. McNichol Papers
Author
Finding aid prepared by Daniel J. Lavoie II
Date
February 20, 2014
Language of description
Description is in English.
Sponsor
The processing of this collection was funded by Nancy Caruso.

Repository Details

Part of the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections Repository

Contact:
92 Snell Library
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston MA 02115 US