MBTA’s 30-day Orange Line shutdown completed second week of accelerating major track and signal upgrades
As of The Advocate press time, the MBTA had completed the second week of the 30-day, full-access closure of the Orange Line, a collaborative effort focusing on important safety, service and reliability upgrades. The acceleration replaces more than five years of Orange Line delays and weekend diversions by allowing 30 days of 24-hour access to work crews. The shutdown is overlapping with the diversion on the Green Line Union Branch (August 22–September 18).
Installing track and upgrading equipment overview: During the second week of the Orange Line shutdown, infrastructure improvements continued to progress. At Ruggles Station and Forest Hills, crews completed special trackwork installation. Workers installed and replaced ties at Dana Bridge to Community College, and at Wellington, Sullivan Square and Jackson Square Stations. Crews finished ballast work and tamping newly installed track at Wellington, and similar work continues at Jackson Square. Near Wellington, crews continued to replace rail, trackwork and special trackwork and installed third rail, which powers the Orange Line trains. To the south of Wellington, additional ductbanks are being installed, providing protected pathways for buried electrical or data cables.
Crews completed vehicle readiness of 56 vehicles needed to operate during morning peak service. Demolition continues at Tufts Curve in preparation for installation of the new Cologne egg fasteners, special rail fasteners used in high-vibration and noise-sensitive areas, and signal testing at Oak Grove and Malden Center Stations is ongoing.
Amplifying results: Crews conducted an inspection of the tunnel structure between Haymarket and North Stations on the northbound and southbound tracks. These inspections are required to help facilitate future infrastructure repairs and identify any areas in need of improvement.
Monitoring customer experience: The MBTA is committed to monitoring its customers’ experience and tracking ridership closely throughout the 30-day shutdown of the Orange Line. Over the last two weeks, the MBTA has listened to riders, learned from their experiences and made necessary wayfinding and service adjustments. On-site Transit Ambassadors are helping riders get to where they need to go, and on-site Orange Line Transformation (OLT) teams are monitoring service, ridership usage levels and work progress. The MBTA will continue to solicit feedback and will do its best responding to the needs of Orange Line riders. The MBTA is grateful for its partnerships with community leaders along the Orange Line system and thanks its riders for their cooperation, understanding and patience as they work to transform the Orange Line system.
Alternative travel options: Alternative service options include free, accessible shuttle bus service and enhanced commuter rail service. For travel within downtown Boston, riders are encouraged to use existing bus and Green Line service. The City of Boston has increased the availability of Bluebikes and created new bus and bike lanes. The MBTA has created “A Rider’s Guide to Planning Ahead,” a tool to provide riders with available travel options and information to help make travel decisions. For more personalized route options to get you where you need to go, you can use the trip planner (https://www.mbta.com/trip-planner).
Even with the availability of alternative travel options, the MBTA understands the shutdown is causing longer trips and having an impact on regional traffic patterns. The MBTA continues to add, refine and adjust wayfinding signage to better direct vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Traffic management measures – including signs, cones and message boards – are set up to direct vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Detour signs are in place to help pedestrians locate and use the shuttle buses. On-site police details are routinely monitoring traffic safety and flow.
Connecting to riders: The Customer Experience Department at the MBTA is hard at work to make sure riders have the information they need to get around. Check out mbta.com/BBT2022 for more information on what to expect throughout the closure and how to navigate the service diversions. Weekly reports on completed projects and overall work progress are available each Friday. Download the Rider’s Guide to Planning Ahead in your preferred language: English, Español, Português, 简体中文, Français, Kreyòl Ayisyen, Af Soomali, Tiếng Việt, Kriolu, नेपाली, عربي.
For more information: Visit www.mbta.com/OLT to see the numerous projects that OLT is carrying out to improve your experience riding the Orange Line. To stay informed of service changes, sign up at www.mbta.com/alerts. If you have any questions, please email OLT@MBTA.com. To report OLT construction issues and noise complaints, please call the project hotline: 617-222-3393.