Green, Orange Line Service Resumes After Weekend Work, Inspections

The three-day long service disruption was due to the discovery of a "severely deteriorated" support column under the Government Center garage

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Finally some good news for commuters who rely on the T.

Service has been fully restored on the MBTA’s Orange and Green lines.

The three-day long service disruption was due to the discovery last Thursday that at least one support column under the Government Center garage was “severely deteriorated,” allegedly due to years of water damage.

That support column went through the T’s tunnels near Haymarket Station in the area where the Green and Orange line trains operate.

Since the lines were shut down Thursday night, both MBTA engineers and third-party engineers and safety experts inspected the infrastructure.

In terms of repair work, the T said the developer installed the necessary supports to uphold the structure.

Structural engineers assessed that repair work and then tested trains in the affected tunnels.

On Sunday, shortly before 7 p.m., the MBTA made the decision to reopen both the Orange and Green lines in this area.

While commuters were happy to have the service back, they’re fed up with unreliable service on the T.

“Hopefully they can get it together, I mean, I’m just concerned with the direction it’s going," T rider Gloria Brooks said. "It just doesn’t seem to the good, but it just seems like a lot of bad decisions are being made at top levels with the T.”

“You get used to it, they make changes, trains break down, you just got to go with the flow," T rider Zelda Singleton added. "Either you’re going to be early or you’re going to be late, and you hope that your boss understands.”

The T said structural engineers will continue to closely monitor the tunnel and infrastructure now that service has resumed.

While the parties worked together over the weekend to address the problem, they have not presented a clear, united front on how to carve up blame for another disruption in the area following a partial collapse of the garage in March that also led to days of subway closures.

On Thursday, the MBTA abruptly halted subway service on downtown segments of the Green and Orange lines, blaming HYM for the "unacceptable" disruption and calling it a "result" of the company's garage project. HYM said in response that the issue was caused by "years of water damage" that was "unrelated to the demolition work."

The MBTA continued to insist Monday that even if HYM attributes the deterioration to water damage and not directly to demolition work, the infrastructure responsible for the subway headache remains the company's responsibility.

Decades ago, the T awarded an easement to the Boston Redevelopment Authority and its successors allowing installation of columns and foundations to support the garage. The columns do not support subway tunnels themselves "in any way," MBTA spokesperson Lisa Battiston said.

"HYM engineers inspected the columns as part of their initial project and plans as the columns are their responsibility," Battiston said. "Regardless, HYM engineers were also present during the inspections in March following the garage collapse and had the opportunity at that time to also inspect these columns. Again, they are the responsible party for maintaining and repairing all columns and foundation footings that pass through MBTA tunnels to support the private Government Center Garage."

Gov. Charlie Baker also placed the responsibility for the Government Center issues at the feet of HYM during remarks Monday.

"That deed belongs to the building dating back to the '60s. HYM had two years to inspect and make decisions" on how they were going to proceed, he said.

Baker added that he thinks the T did "yeoman's work" working with HYM over the course of the weekend to make sure service could be restored.

An HYM spokesperson did not immediately answer questions on Monday.

On Friday evening, hours after offering an account of events that conflicted with the T's, the company said in a statement that it is "not in the business of pointing fingers."

"We are looking to solve a problem that affects the people who live, work and commute in this City," HYM and John Moriarty and Associates said. "Yesterday, as previously stated, HYM's team of engineers under the supervision of the MBTA, confirmed a problematic subsurface column within the MBTA tunnel. Upon detection, our teams immediately notified additional members of MBTA leadership of the issues the condition of this column posed. These tunnels are inaccessible without the permission of the MBTA."

"We are thankful that we discovered this issue when we did and have been working closely with MBTA staff to rectify this issue, allow for the reopening of Congress Street and the resumption of MBTA service," the company continued.

MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said last week that the transit agency would push for HYM to cover all costs associated with the disruption. Battiston told the News Service the T is "in the process of determining the financial impact and will hold HYM fully accountable."

State House News Service contributed to this report.

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