With the goal of expediting safety and reliability improvements through core infrastructure investments, the MBTA is reminding customers of the acceleration of essential track and intersection work on the entirety of the Green Line E Branch as part of the MBTA’s $8 billion Building a Better T program. During this accelerated work, Green Line E Branch trolleys will not operate beginning at the start of service on Sunday, August 2, through Saturday, August 29, including both weekdays and weekends. Riders are instead encouraged to utilize Route 39 bus service, which will be free for the duration of the E Branch diversion. The Route 39 mirrors E Branch service along Huntington Avenue, operating between Forest Hills and Back Bay. Free accessible shuttle buses will also supplement Route 39 service and operate between Prudential and Heath Street Stations. During this diversion in E Branch service, crews will improve accessibility and the customer experience through upgrades to grade crossings and intersections, and improve reliability and remove a longstanding speed restriction through the replacement of 2.7 miles of track.
“The E Branch work taking place during August is the equivalent of about a year’s worth of weekend and evening diversions in E Branch service,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “Safety continues to be our first priority, and our shuttle plans include measures that promote physical distancing. Face coverings are also required on shuttle buses and throughout the T system. Though we recognize that these shutdowns can be inconvenient, we appreciate our E Branch customers’ patience as we complete this work at a faster pace and deliver these improvements more quickly.”
Customers and the public should also note that the MBTA will hold a virtual public meeting to outline the details of this upcoming Green Line E Branch track and intersection work on tonight, June 23, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. More information about this public meeting and how to join is at mbta.com/GLEmeeting.
More Information about The Work:
This suspension in Green Line E Branch service during from Aug. 2 through Aug. 29 is part of the MBTA’s $8 billion Building a Better T programto quicken the pace of infrastructure projects in 2020 as well as the MBTA’s Green Line Transformation program. Completion of this work will result in improved safety and reliability, fewer unplanned service disruptions, and improved travel times for riders. During this extended diversion in E Branch service, crews will:
• Allow for a more reliable trip and the removal of longstanding speed restrictions through the replacement of 2.7 miles (over 14,300 feet) of track that, in some areas, is over thirty years old and has reached the end of its service life;
• Allow for improvements to safety, accessibility, and the rider experience through the restoration of six road crossings and five individual pedestrian track crossings, including the replacement of uneven pavement and the installation of accessible ramps where needed; and
• Perform additional customer improvements that include upgrades to system maps, walkways, station brightening, and yellow tactile edging at E Branch stations.
This nearly month-long closure is equivalent to about one full year of weekend and night closures on the E Branch. Though this work was previously announced and planned during the summer when ridership is historically lower, doing this work now also allows its completion at a time when ridership on the Green Line is significantly decreased due to the pandemic. The MBTA recognizes that riders do continue to take essential trips as the Commonwealth moves through its reopening plan. The MBTA’s shuttle plan includes measures to promote social distancing that protect MBTA riders and workers. The MBTA will carefully monitor ridership levels on buses, adjusting service levels if needed.
Green Line E Branch Replacement Service and Shuttle Bus Information:
Riders are encouraged to utilize free Route 39 bus service during the month of August while this accelerated work takes place. Free, accessible shuttle buses will also supplement Route 39 service and operate between Prudential and Heath Street Stations.
Information on Previous Accelerated Work and More:
The MBTA continues to assess whether other projects can be further accelerated. Previous and current accelerated work in 2020 includes:
• Track work, harbor tunnel repairs, and additional infrastructure improvements during a fourteen-day shutdown of the Blue Line from Bowdoin to Airport in May 2020;
• Tie replacement work, concrete repairs, Quincy Adams elevator work, track replacement, and bridge inspection work during a fourteen-day shutdown of the Red Line from Braintree to Quincy Center in June 2020;
• Track and signal replacement work during two nine-day shutdowns of the Green Line D Branch from Kenmore to Riverside in June 2020;
• Infrastructure work in the area known as the Beacon Junction during a nine-day shutdown of the C Branch from Kenmore to St. Mary’s in June 2020;
• Track and intersection work during a nearly month-long shutdown of the Green Line C Branch from Kenmore to Cleveland Circle, which began July 5 and is currently taking place through August 1.
Riders are also reminded that face coverings are required while onboard any MBTA service, including shuttle buses. Additionally, in an effort to promote social distancing and protect the health and safety of MBTA riders and bus operators, ridership on shuttle buses is limited to twenty passengers.
Following track work, the MBTA typically implements speed restrictions as a safety precaution, and customers should expect these to last for several days while the T monitors the proper settlement and consolidation of new track and stone ballast. Speed restrictions are lifted once engineers have confirmed proper settlement has occurred.
For more information, please visit mbta.com/GLEwork, www.mbta.com/GLT, www.mbta.com/BBT2020, or connect with the T on Twitter @MBTA, Facebook /TheMBTA, or Instagram @theMBTA.