MBTA to remove some panels at Harvard Station

Gonneville says T lucky corroded panel didn't hit anyone


MBTA STAFF will remove ceiling panels at Harvard Station after a corroded panel fell about 10 feet and landed “very close to a customer,” interim General Manager Jeff Gonneville said Friday.

Gonneville said staff and engineers determined that the aluminum panel weighing 20 to 25 pounds “failed because of corrosion,” likely inflicted by water, causing it to drop onto the Red Line platform Wednesday afternoon.

“We are extremely fortunate that there wasn’t any injury as a result of this,” Gonneville said. “It was very close.”

The interim GM said the panels do not contribute to the station’s structural integrity, instead serving aesthetic and noise absorption reasons, and he directed crews to permanently remove panels where necessary.

“By removing these panels, it’ll be easier for us to inspect and perform the necessary maintenance these stations require and to keep our riders and employees safe,” Gonneville said.

Workers have already removed about 10 other panels out of the 400 to 500 in Harvard Station, and inspections are continuing and the T will do a system-wide audit of similar structures, Gonneville said.

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Chris Lisinski

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Speaking from a livestreamed press conference at the T’s headquarters, Gonneville said the incident is “the most recent example of the work we have ahead of us to bring the system back into a state of good repair and provide our riders with the service they deserve.”

Gonneville forecast discussion about station improvement plans when the MBTA board considers a capital investment plan this month.