BOSTON — With the looming 30-day shutdown of the MBTA Orange Line now just days away, Governor Charlie Baker and state transportation leaders will meet Monday morning to discuss the wide-ranging effects of the planned closure.
Bottom line, they say: “Closures will have regional impacts on the transportation network well beyond transit users.”
So, even if you don’t use the Orange Line regularly, you may feel the pain too.
The shutdown is slated to start this Friday, August 19th at 9:00 p.m. The first real test of the closure will follow on Monday, during the morning commute on August 22. The shutdown is scheduled to last until September 18th.
Baker, MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak, MassDOT Undersecretary Scott Bosworth, and MassDOT Highway Administrator Jonathan L. Gulliver will be holding a briefing about the Orange Line closure on Monday morning.
On Friday, the MBTA unveiled its ‘Rider’s Guide to Planning Ahead.’ Crews have also started painting roads for shuttle buses that will be replacing the train service.
The guide lays out some of what riders may expect when the Orange Line grinds to halt. The MBTA guide also deals with the separate planned closure of the Green Line from Union Square to Government Center stations beginning Monday, August 22.
The MBTA is encouraging Orange Line riders to consider Commuter Rail service as an alternative to the Orange Line.
Commuter Rail trains will make additional stops at Forest Hills, Ruggles, Back Bay, North Station, Malden Center, and Oak Grove stations to accommodate Orange Line passengers impacted by the bus diversion. Riders can show their CharlieCard or CharlieTicket to conductors to ride the Commuter Rail in Zones 1A, 1, and 2 on all Commuter Rail lines at no charge.
ORANGE LINE SHUTTE BUSES
The T will offer free shuttle buses between Oak Grove and Haymarket/Government Center and between Forest Hills and Back Bay/Copley.
While all shuttle buses are fully ADA-accessible, accessible vans will also be available for any rider who prefers van service upon request.
MBTA personnel will be available at every station to assist riders in requesting this accessible van service.
Due to the free shuttle bus service, RIDE trips that begin and end within ¾ mile of the Orange Line will be free for RIDE users during the 30-day shutdown.
Riders can use other MBTA bus and subway services to complete their trips, like the Route 39 bus, Silver Lines 4 and 5, the Green Line, and others. Riders are being encouraged to check out the MBTA’s Trip Planner.
WORK FROM HOME
“The MBTA is encourages those who can work from home to do so and for the public that needs to travel, to consider alternative travel options,” according to a statement from the MBTA.
Riders are also encouraged to monitor MBTA social media for the latest updates on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok, to subscribe to T-Alerts at mbta.com, and visit more information at mbta.com/BBT2022.
IMPACTS ON ROADWAYS / TRAFFIC CONGESTION
Starting Monday, August 15, MassDOT says travelers using all modes of transportation along the Orange Line corridor will experience increased traffic congestion as a result of roadway modifications needed to support the MBTA’s bus shuttles.
“The modifications will occur at numerous points along the shuttle routes and range from reconfiguring travel and turning lanes, curb work, installation of designated bus lanes at various locations, and changes to traffic signal timing at multiple intersections,” according to the T.
“Following the full Orange Line shutdown, regional traffic congestion is expected to increase substantially,” says the T.
Travelers across are strongly encouraged to avoid driving through the area altogether, work from home if possible and “consider rescheduling trips through the area that are not absolutely necessary, or for necessary travel, expect significant traffic congestion and travel delays.”
Boston 25 is planning to stream the governor’s Monday briefing with transportation officials.
You can watch it live here. The briefing is scheduled for 11:00 a.m.
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