MBTA to Shut Down New Green Line Extension for 4 Weeks, Opening Date for Medford Branch Delayed

The diversion is necessary to allow for continued work at the Government Center parking garage project, officials said

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The MBTA announced Friday that it will be shutting down the new Green Line Extension for four weeks and that the opening date for the Medford Branch has been delayed from late summer to November of 2022.

The diversion in service is necessary to allow for continued work at the Government Center parking garage project, MBTA officials said. Temporary shuttle buses will replace Green Line service between the Government Center and Union Square stations in both directions starting Monday, Aug. 22 and continuing through Sunday, Sept. 18.

During this time, the MBTA said it will also be working to connect the Medford Branch, install noise walls and repair a slow zone.

During the diversion in service, Green Line riders traveling inbound and outbound between Government Center and Union Square will be able to board free shuttle buses, which will make stops at Lechmere Station and the Lechmere Station Bus Loop. Shuttle buses will not stop at Science Park Station, which is within close walking distance to North Station.

Passenger service along the Green Line Extension's first branch, the Union Branch, began back in March. Trolley testing along the second branch, the Medford Branch, started without passengers on May 14. After the upcoming diversion, non-passenger trolley testing along the Medford Branch will resume and continue until the opening of passenger service in late November.

The diversion in service is necessary to allow for continued work at the Government Center parking garage project, MBTA officials said.

Frustrated Green Line riders tell NBC10 Boston they're fed up.

“I think it’s horrible. I think it’s very horrible,” Althea Garrison said. “The service has been lousy for the last few years. So, I’m kind of glad the Baker administration is finishing up. I hope he takes the general manger of the MBTA with him.”

“I would have liked to know a little bit more ahead of time,” Megan Stephenson said.

“Everything’s a mess right now,” one man said. "I just think the T really needs to fix it up.”

The MBTA will shut down the Orange Line for 30 days beginning Aug. 19.

The Green Line work is being coordinated with the proposed 30-day Orange Line shutdown announced earlier this week by MBTA officials and Gov. Charlie Baker.

The Orange Line will be shut down starting at 9 p.m. on Aug. 19, and it's not scheduled to resume service until 5 a.m. on Sept. 19. The T said it needs the full 30 days to tackle the issues that have been plaguing the system for months, including addressing the problems identified in a recent Federal Transit Administration report.

The work is expected to affect commuters, students, businesses and people who rely on the T on a daily basis. It's also expected to significantly add to traffic in the area, with 140 to 200 Yankee buses on the road every day, transporting the roughly 100,000 people who would normally be using the Orange Line.

During the Orange Line shutdown, workers will replace more than 3,500 feet of track that dates back 38 years, install upgraded signals at Oak Grove and Malden stations, replace two crossovers that manage train movement, and fix concrete, tracks and ties along the Southwest Corridor.

The project will also take aim at one of the pressing issues the FTA flagged amid its ongoing safety probe into the T, which General Manager Steve Poftak described as the "impetus" for the new steps. Federal inspectors slammed the T for a backlog of delayed maintenance projects, several of which have left stretches of track in such poor condition that the MBTA needed to lower the allowable speed limit in those areas. Another step Baker administration officials pledged to accomplish during the shutdown is an overhaul of the Orange Line's fleet.

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