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State to delay 2-year closure of Government Center Station until after Callahan Tunnel reopens

Posted by Matt Rocheleau  July 30, 2013 11:46 AM

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The planned two-year closure of Government Center subway station will be delayed until after the Callahan Tunnel reopens next spring, MBTA officials announced today.

Government Center Station has been scheduled to close for construction for 24 months starting in September, but state transportation Secretary Richard A. Davey decided recently to keep the station open until after the reopening of the Callahan Tunnel, which is scheduled to close for construction from the end of December to the end of March.

Concern had been raised that those two and other overlapping road and subway construction projects and their related closures would cause travel nightmares, particularly around the downtown area of Boston and for those going to and from Logan Airport.

Work on Government Center Station will still start as scheduled this fall, but will be done without closing the station until the Callahan Tunnel reopens, T spokesman Joe Pesaturo said Tuesday.

The shutdown will be part of a $90-million project to renovate and rebuild the busy station at City Hall Plaza. Delaying the station’s 24-month closure is not expected to affect the project’s cost, he said.

A transfer point for the Green and Blue lines, the station is the 13th busiest in the MBTA system and the third oldest, according to the T. On average, 11,315 people enter Government Center Station on weekdays.

During the closure, trains will still run through, but will not stop at the station.

The T has said it will take steps to try to reduce impacts from the closure, including running: special bus route that will stop at Government Center, Haymarket, and State stations. And, Bowdoin Station, normally closed on weekends and after 6:30 p.m. on weekdays, will be kept open seven days a week and until the same time other stations close.

The overhaul, the first significant modernization to the Government Center Station in 50 years, will bring it into compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act and make myriad other improvements. The most dramatic change will be a tall, glass-lined station entrance, or “headhouse,” emerging from City Hall Plaza.

Other work will include: renovating Green Line and Blue Line platforms; overhauling the electrical system; installing new elevators, escalators, LED signs, improved lighting, and an expanded fare collection area, and reconstructing some of the surrounding parts of Cambridge Street and City Hall Plaza, officials said.

The project is expected to wrap up in the second quarter of 2016. The T expects federal funding to cover about 80 percent of the cost.

E-mail Matt Rocheleau at mjrochele@gmail.com.
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