The MBTA announced an accelerated construction schedule on Mission Hill’s E Line train system that includes night work through July, and 24/7 work throughout all of August – an ambitious schedule that will impact areas from South Huntington Street to Brigham Circle.
The T announced on Wednesday that from Monday, August 2, through Sunday, August 29, crews will work around the clock to replace outdated track including ties, ballast, and rail as well as pavement on the Green Line E Branch between South Huntington Avenue and Brigham Circle Station. The MBTA will provide replacement bus service during the Green Line Transformation (GLT) program’s accelerated 28 days of work scheduled for the 2021 Track and Intersection Upgrades Project. This accelerated approach was used in 2020 when GLT completed four weeks of full access improvements on the E Branch, primarily from Northeastern University to Brigham Circle. The MBTA worked with riders, residents, businesses, and elected officials to provide advance notice, safe crossing around the work areas, and free shuttles throughout the 28-day full access closure.
However, at that time, ridership was very low due to the pandemic, and numbers for T users were nowhere near what they have become now that the pandemic restrictions have been mostly lifted.
A public meeting virtually will be held to discuss the plan on July 14.
“Following last summer’s acceleration, we’re returning to the E Branch this August to continue accelerated work on the Green Line,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “Performing this work during 28 consecutive days means delivering benefits to our Green Line riders much sooner than if the work was performed during evening and weekend diversions alone. When this accelerated work is complete, E Branch riders will experience increased reliability through newer infrastructure and faster travel times with lifted speed restrictions. Area bicyclists, drivers, and pedestrians will see benefits, too, through upgraded and safer intersections and grade crossings.”
The MBTA has significantly increased its capital investments in recent years under Gov. Charlie Baker. In Fiscal Year 2021, ending June 30, the MBTA has achieved its capital spending goal of $1.75 billion – which includes $1.3 billion for reliability and modernization investments alone – which is an 8.7% increase over capital spending during Fiscal Year 2020. In addition, the MBTA has increased its annual capital program investments from approximately $768 million during Fiscal Year 2015 to an expected $2 billion in spending for Fiscal Year 2022.
“Last August, the E Branch full access closure enabled GLT to complete a year’s worth of work in 28 days. This year, a second full access closure will result in the completion of critical work, saving time, limiting the duration of construction, and reducing resource costs. GLT continues to take a holistic approach to improvements for riders of the E Branch,” said MBTA Chief of Green Line Transformation Angel Peña. “GLT will provide weekly project updates and keep residents, businesses, and riders informed as we work to deliver improved service along Huntington Avenue. We appreciate that construction causes disruption and are working as quickly and safely as we can to amplify the results of the acceleration, as we did in 2020.”
Virtual Public Meeting
The MBTA will host a virtual public meeting on Wednesday, July 14, at 6 p.m. on the upcoming work on the E Branch to provide additional details and answer questions. Instructions for joining the virtual public meeting via computer or phone are posted on the public meeting event page at mbta.com/events. The presentation will be recorded and posted online for those unable to attend.
July Preparation Work
Overnight work will take place from Monday, July 19, through Saturday, July 31, Mondays through Fridays from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Overnight crews will perform prep work on Huntington Avenue between Colburn Street and St. Albans Road. Crews will weld segments of rail together, saw-cut pavement, and perform other work to prepare for accelerated construction in August.
This work will not affect Green Line E Branch service. However, there will be lane closures and temporary removal of parking spaces.
Aug. Work Locations and Dates
Starting Monday, August 2, crews will work around the clock during weekdays, weeknights, and weekends for a total of 28 days to accelerate construction and ultimately reduce the duration of impacts to riders and neighbors.
Crews will perform track replacement work 24 hours a day/seven days a week on Huntington Avenue starting at South Huntington and Parker Hill Avenue, and working toward Brigham Circle Station. During the third week of August, crews will begin to replace the Tremont Street/Francis Street intersection. The intersection replacement should take approximately one week, during which time only emergency vehicles will have access through the intersection.
Track work will occur in three main segments:
•From South Huntington Avenue to Frawley Street.
•From Mission Park Drive to Fernwood Road.
•Tremont/Francis Street Intersection (work zone extending to St. Albans Road).
During the acceleration, there will be lane closures, and some parking spaces will be temporarily unavailable in the work zone. These restrictions are required for storing materials and safely accessing the tracks.
Beginning in the third week of August, vehicles will be detoured around the Francis Street/Tremont Street intersection to allow crews to safely access the track and reconstruct the pavement in this area. Advanced warning signs will be posted for drivers. Access to local businesses will be maintained at all times.
The latest schedule of work locations is available at www.mbta.com/GLintersections.
Other MBTA Departments, such as the Maintenance Department, may also take this opportunity to complete needed work on the E Branch between Brigham Circle and Heath Street Stations.