Park Street Station, one of the stations where repairs will take place this fall. (Mario Jarjour/WBZ NewsRadio)
BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — The MBTA plans on shutting down major sections of the Red, Orange, and Green Lines for repairs throughout fall as part of an aggressive proposal that could greatly impact riders' weekend commutes. Officials say it's a necessary step in upgrading the T's aging infrastructure.
At the MBTA's Fiscal Management Control Board meeting Monday, General Manager Steve Poftak said the plan is vital to speeding up much-needed repairs at several stations, including Downtown Crossing and Park Street.
"We know that diversions in service are an inconvenience in the short term, but these shutdowns will allow us to quicken the pace of investments in the system more efficiently and effectively," Poftak said in a release. "We’ve heard loud and clear that we need to accelerate the pace of improvements. This is an especially important opportunity for the MBTA to replace track in areas that aren’t accessible to work crews without these shutdowns."
The repairs were initially scheduled to take place during the overnight hours when trains weren't running, but are now scheduled to take place over entire weekends as part of a plan announced in June to speed up work across the system. In fact, the transit agency said some work timelines would be shortened "by as much as eleven months."
During the station shutdowns, shuttle buses would replace T service at Red and Orange Line stations downtown and on some Green Line branches.
"We'll have busing in most places to allow people to get where they need to go," Poftak said. "It's not the same, but we ask for their patience."
Poftak also said the shutdowns may not be limited to weekends—and may extend beyond autumn.
"We are looking at what we can do in 2020 to accelerate construction on the system," Poftak said. "It will definitely include more weekend diversions, and we are exploring the possibility of weekday diversions if it's worth it, if it makes sense for the amount of work that we're able to get done."
And there's a lot of work to do. As part of the initiative, crews will be replacing over 11,000 feet of track, cleaning debris from tunnels, repairing flooring and tiles, and improving signage and lighting in the stations.
These newly-announced repairs will add on to improvements that are already scheduled to begin in September.
For a complete list of all the improvements set to be made under the 2019 Capital Acceleration Plan, as well as a schedule of the proposed shutdowns, visit the MBTA's website.
Poftak said he hopes riders will see and feel the improvements across the system following the renovations and repairs.
"We think that this is a great first step toward building a better MBTA for our customers," he said.
WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe (@KimWBZ) reports