T closing Alewife garage over weekend

More concrete problems surface; getting vehicles out a concern

THE MBTA SAID on Friday that it uncovered more problems with deteriorated concrete at its Alewife garage and plans to shut down the entire facility over the weekend “to allow for continued repairs and a comprehensive engineering assessment.”

The transit agency said its priority on Friday would be for its engineering teams to ensure “a safe path of travel for vehicles exiting the garage throughout the day.”

The T’s decision to shut down the facility came after a chunk of concrete on the second level fell on to a car earlier this week. No one was injured, but the incident drew attention to the parking garage’s structural problems. In the wake of the incident, MBTA officials shut down the second level, taking 500 spaces out of commission. Now the agency is shutting down the entire, 2,500-space facility.

A T press release said the agency was taking the action to shut down the facility over the weekend out of an abundance of caution, but the ongoing problems suggest the MBTA is facing serious safety issue. The T said it is developing a long-term plan for the garage, suggesting it might have to be completely overhauled or shut down.

Work is currently scheduled to begin in September on a $5.7 million contract to repair beams, patch concrete decks, re-caulk deck joints, and clean and flush the existing drainage system. That work follows another three-year restoration project that was finished in 2015. One T insider said there is growing concern that the agency may be wasting its money by trying to patch a facility that is beyond repair.