MBTA’s accelerated repair plan to bring major commute disruptions

BOSTON — The MBTA announced plans to accelerate projects for several subway lines and the Commuter Rail “to improve service, safety, and reliability on a faster timeline.” The projects include additional diversions of weekend service and two one-month shutdowns on the Green Line.

Steve Poftak, the MBTA’s General Manager, said they were all ears last year when riders said they wanted repairs to be done more quickly, and with that in mind, devised the company’s newest plans to “build a better T”.

“Last year we heard them loud and clear fixing the MBTA at the current pace was not good enough,” said Poftak. “We needed to build a better T and we needed to do it faster.”

But, to fit in their shorter timeframe, the MBTA will call for longer and more frequent systemwide shutdowns.

According to a press release, the 2020 Infrastructure Acceleration Plan will deliver these projects eight years faster than originally planned, but those plans come at a cost: disruption.

Green Line: Starting in May, the MBTA will replace 11 miles of track and upgrade 14 intersections on the Green Line.

Red Line: From now through August, crews will work on repairing six miles of track on the Red Line and upgrading tunnels.

Orange Line: From now through the end of 2020, there will be weekend closures on the Orange Line as crews fix escalators and repair three-and-and-half miles of track.

Blue Line: The MBTA will repair a half-mile of track, rehab the Harvard Tunnel and clean stations.

Silver Line: On the Silver Line, they will replace pavement and rehab tunnels.

Commuter Rail: On the Franklin Line, crews will be replacing seven-and-a-half miles of track.

At a press conference Thursday, Governor Charlie Baker and MBTA officials said these massive repairs will pay off.

“Our administration is dedicated to building a better MBTA for our riders that is safer and more reliable, and the 2020 Infrastructure Plan will help to achieve the goal faster,” said Baker.

“The reason that we are asking out customers to tolerate these planned disruptions to their commute is to reduce and hopefully at some point eliminate the unplanned disruptions that really have been the biggest complaint we hear from our customers,” said Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack.

Pollack says that, when the project is finished, the T will run faster, smoother and more safely.

“Fixing tracks does a few things for customers - it means safer rides and newer tracks mean fewer derailments and it means a speedier ride,” said Pollack.

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