Two MBTA maintenance projects will launch Monday that will shut down train service on the affected lines for at least a week, an effort by the T to accelerate original plans and take advantage of lower ridership during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Blue Line trains will be shut down between Bowdoin and the Logan Airport stop from Monday, May 18 through Sunday, May 31. Local shuttles will run between Airport and Bowdoin and express shuttles will run from Airport to Government Center.
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The track replacement, tunnel repair and rehabilitation work was originally scheduled to take place over a 120-day period involving only weekend shutdowns, but T officials say taking trains offline for two weeks now will save 106 days on the project timeline.
Also starting Monday, the Lowell Line will not run commuter rail trains between Anderson RTC and North Station through the end of service on Sunday, May 24. Switching to shuttle buses on that stretch for one continuous week will save $2 million, according to the MBTA, and allow for faster work on track drainage lines needed for the construction of the Green Line Extension.
MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said Monday that the projects will take advantage of low-ridership conditions. Like the rest of the T, which has seen ridership drop more than 90% since the COVID-19 pandemic began, both the Blue Line and the Lowell Line are currently experiencing significantly reduced demand.
Almost two dozen other MBTA capital projects have been delayed several months during the pandemic due to what officials describe as staffing availability conflicts and supply chain disruption.