Last week, Masachusettys fired the top official in charge of the Central Artery/Third Harbor Tunnel project.

Although the state said in a release that Theodore Weigle left the project because the project is moving into the next phase of construction in the downtown Boston area, several sources said Weigle was fired for continual disagreements with state officials.

In September, Weigle gained attention after he contradicted Trans- portation Secretary James Kerasiotes about the cost of the project.

Kerasiotes had told the Boston Globe that the project would not cost more than $7.7 billion. The next day, Weigle said that continued problems with the project may drive the figure higher.

Weigle, who is employed by the Bechtel Group Inc. will be reassigned within the company. For the past two years, he has managed the more than a thousand workers of the Bechtel/Parsons Brinkerhoff engineering group that is in charge of the entire project.

In the early 1980s the entire project was expected to cost $2.3 billion. By the time Gov. William F. Weld took office in 1991, the estimate had grown to $5.8 billing, and now $8 billion is the expected figure.

In his recent reelection campaign, Weld said that one of his chief concerns for his second term will be keeping costs down for project.

Althought the federal government has pledged to foot he bill for 85% of the costs, the state will still have to pay its share for the costs.

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