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MBTA says Orange Line work is 37% done

"I would say we are on schedule."

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, along with MBTA transportation officials, observe completed track work and construction on the Orange Line at State Street Station in Boston on Aug. 28, 2022. Carlin Stiehl for The Boston Globe

Despite the Orange Line shutdown causing headaches for riders and drivers, according to the MBTA, work on the line is being completed in a timely manner.

The project is just over a quarter of the way through the planned shutdown period, and General Manager Steve Poftak says the work is already 37% complete. Poftak made the comments during a visit by Gov. Charlie Baker to see new track at State Street station, WCVB reported Sunday.

The Orange Line is set to reopen on Sept. 19, and Baker said he’s confident it will reopen on time.

“The chance to get five years’ worth of work done in a very short period of time was a significant opportunity to improve the quality of service for Orange Line riders,” Baker reportedly said.

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WCVB reported that on Sunday, Baker got to see 900 feet of new track that has been installed between the State Street and Downtown Crossing stations since the line shut down on Aug. 19.

“A lot of the work that’s being done here can be done over the course of a 24-hour period,” Baker reportedly said. “You don’t have to spend a huge amount of the time you’re actually on the tracks getting on them and getting off them, which is typically the case for night and weekend work.”

Still, WBZ-TV reported, Poftak would not go so far as to say they are ahead of schedule.

“I would say we are on schedule,” Poftak said. “I don’t want to count these chickens before they hatch.” 

Both schoolchildren and college students will begin to go back to school this week, which could add further strain to the methods of alternative service the T is providing. WCVB reported that Baker recommended people who normally take the Orange Line rely on the Commuter Rail.

“It has capacity. They’re running more trains than they were running previously and the feedback we got from a lot people who used the Commuter Rail last week was very positive,” he reportedly said.

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On Friday, the T released information on what work has been completed so far.

Here’s the work they say they’ve done:

  • Completed rail replacement between Downtown Crossing and State Street stations, removing a slow zone
  • Installed duct banks and asphalt for special trackwork at Wellington station
  • Installed two units of special trackwork and weather-resiliency infrastructure at Wellington station
  • Replaced over 100 ties at Dana Bridge
  • Completed half of tie replacement and special trackwork at the Ruggles and Jackson station crossovers
  • Began replacing Cologne Egg rail fasteners at the Tufts station curve
  • Worked on signals at Oak Grove and Malden Center stations and set up test trains for future testing
  • Repair and inspection of rub rails at Oak Grove and Malden Center stations
  • Blackout tests at Massachusetts Ave. and Jackson Square stations to test station generators and emergency lighting

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