NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

April 25, 2014

Whittier Bridge work halted

MassDOT stops project over concerns of worker's behavior

(Continued)

“This is completely unacceptable,” Verseckes said. “We hope that the situation is resolved as soon as possible.”

Taylor, his wife and three daughters, ages 8, 5 and 31/2, live in the corner unit of the Main Street condominium complex directly adjacent to the construction project. When the bridge project began last summer, plans called for clear-cutting the buffer and moving the highway much closer to the condos. Where once there were trees, there is now an active and noisy construction site.

Taylor said yesterday that he believes a worker who he says has taunted him in the past is the person responsible for the graffiti.

Taylor said he was forced to explain to his 8-year-old daughter what the words meant.

“I told her that Fallujah is a place where there was fighting and there was a war there,” Taylor said. “So basically what the guy who wrote this to us is saying is, ‘Welcome to the war.’ She is now scared that the people over there are bullying us and are going to hurt us. That’s what she is scared about. Because they talk about bullying in school and she knows that it starts with teasing and it eventually ends up with violence.”

In addition to the state, Taylor notified Amesbury Mayor Ken Gray and his attorney Robert Ciampitti Jr. about the incident.

“I understand from my clients that this is not the first example of escalated tension and retaliation,” Ciampitti said. “It is really just the latest example. It’s just the first time that the employees of (Walsh-McCourt JV1) have been caught.”

The graffiti was removed by yesterday afternoon and the letter of suspension was sent soon after.

“This is outrageous,” Gray said. “The DOT owes the Taylors an explanation and the individual should be fired immediately.”

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