Aug 16, 2022 - News

Boston braces for MBTA shutdown

Illustration of an MBTA sign changing into an emergency symbol.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Greater Boston is getting ready for an unprecedented transportation disruption, as the Orange Line and a portion of the Green Line will be shut down for 30 days starting Friday.

State of play: The closures will affect more than strap-hangers. Road traffic is expected to increase as shuttle buses take over the routes from Jamaica Plain to Melrose and from Government Center to Union Square.

  • Boston is already setting up temporary dedicated bus lanes to facilitate the shuttles, but lane closures will cause heavier automotive traffic.

The latest: At a press conference Monday, Gov. Charlie Baker and MBTA general manager Steve Poftak urged riders to use the Commuter Rail during the shutdown.

  • Additional Commuter Rail stops will be added at Forest Hills, Ruggles, Back Bay, North Station, Malden and Oak Grove.
  • Stops close to Boston, known as zones 1A, 1 and 2, will be free for anyone with a Charlie Card.

What they're saying: Baker warned commuters, residents and visitors to the metro area to plan ahead if they travel anywhere near the Orange Line or the portion of the Green Line north of Government Center.

  • "The plan is to ensure that every rider will have clear information on how they can get around the system, but it will also cause regional travel impacts for drivers, bikers and pedestrians as DOT and especially the city of Boston make great roadway changes to accommodate these buses," Baker said.
  • The MBTA released a rider's guide that includes information on how to reset your commute.

The big picture: Baker said the tradeoff for 30 days of patience will be "five years of work" on MBTA infrastructure.

  • Shutting down the whole of the Orange Line and some Green Line stops will allow crews to replace the third rail, upgrade signal systems, fix tunnel leaks and prepare for the fleet of all-new cars on the Orange Line.
  • MBTA repairs are usually limited to just a few overnight hours when service is closed.
  • Federal officials have mandated that the T improve the safety of the transit service.

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