MBTA is extending Blue Line shutdown 5 more days

Work proves challenging, delay announced to assure safety

THE MBTA is extending the shutdown of a portion of the Blue Line for another five days to make sure the track being installed is safe.

The T announced on Sunday that it was extending the original 14-day shutdown until Friday “to complete additional work and finish scheduled work.” On Monday, asked about reports that the project had encountered difficulties, a T spokeswoman acknowledged in an email that the work was proving challenging.

“The location of this track work along some areas of the Blue Line is a complicated area that involves both sloping of the track (meaning the track rises and descends) as well as a curve,” said T spokeswoman Lisa Battiston. “With safety always as the top priority, it was determined that additional time was needed to ensure the new track installed in these complicated areas is properly in place and safe for trains to travel over when Blue Line service resumes.”

Battiston did not address any specific obstacles or cite any specific problems. She also did not say whether the contractor on the $5 million project was being held responsible financially for the delay.

CommonWealth was told an initial portion of the track work needed to be redone because a test of the rails failed.

The project involves the replacement of 1,800 feet of track and a wide assortment of other tunnel improvements while that work is being done. During the construction, shuttle buses will run from Government Center to Maverick where Blue Line service will resume. There also will be alternate ferry service from Lewis Mall near Maverick to Long Wharf. Details can be found here.

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Bruce Mohl

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About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

The five-day extension applies to a shutdown of the Blue Line between Airport and Bowdoin stations. Because of that extension, a shutdown of the Blue Line between Wonderland and Orient Heights from May 12 to May 29 to work on the Suffolk Downs pedestrian bridge is being postponed.

In announcing the initial closure of the Blue Line, MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak acknowledged the inconvenience but said the tradeoff is much more rapid completion of the work. “We know these diversions can be an inconvenience, but these service suspensions allow us to expedite critical tunnel and infrastructure work. I want to thank our Blue Line riders for their patience while we accelerate these important projects,” Poftak said.