T closing big chunk of Green Line for a month

Buses will shuttle passengers between Govt. Ctr. and Somerville

TWO DAYS after announcing a month-long shutdown of service on the entire Orange Line, the MBTA said it plans to simultaneously close a section of the Green Line running between Government Center and Union Square in Somerville.

MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak also said the Green Line extension from Lechmere to Medford will miss its twice-delayed late summer completion date and will now open in late November.

He said the delayed opening is necessary because of “unforeseen delays” on the Medford branch and a lack of engineering and safety resources that have been diverted to other initiatives related to an ongoing Federal Transit Administration safety review.

Poftak described the Orange and Green Line closures as “bold and decisive” moves to address long-standing maintenance and other issues quickly rather than keeping the lines open and trying to complete the work over an extended period of time during nights and weekends.

The branch of the Green Line extension running from Lechmere to Union Square in Somerville opened on March 22 and will now shut down from August 22 until September 18. (The Orange Line shutdown runs from August 19 to September 19.)

Poftak said the month will allow crews to work on the Union Square and Medford branches and the elevated section of track between North Station and Lechmere.

Poftak indicated the T knew it had to shut down the Union Square branch at some point for unspecified additional repairs. He said work on the Medford branch revolves around completion of power substations, which were a problem with the Union Square branch as well.

The elevated section of the track connecting North Station and Lechmere via Science Park reopened after extensive work in the spring, but Poftak indicated “adjustments to the overhead wire” are now needed to allow trolleys to increase their speed level from 10 miles per hour to 25 miles per hour.

The general manager said the month will also give HYM Development and its contractor Moriarty Construction the ability to complete work dismantling the Government Center garage and preparing the area above Haymarket Station for redevelopment. Haymarket will be closed throughout the month-long shutdown.

As with the Orange Line, shuttle buses will ferry passengers whilew the line is shut down. Buses will stop at all stations between fUnion Square in Somerville and Government Center, except for Haymarket and Science Park.

The MBTA board of directors on Wednesday approved a $37 million contract with A Yankee Line Inc. to provide shuttle bus service while the two lines are shut down.

Poftak said the current plan is to deploy 160 buses to provide shuttle service along the entire Orange Line and 22 buses for the Green Line. “We may adjust that as we learn more,” he said.