BOSTON (WHDH) - Service has been partially suspended on the Orange and Green Lines due to a structural issue at the Government Center Garage.
The MBTA announced Thursday evening that shuttle buses will replace trains between the Green Lines’ Government Center and Lechmere stations while the Orange Line was suspended in full between the North Station and Back bay locations.
The sudden change has left many commuters frustrated as they try to figure out how to get where they need to go Friday morning.
“They should have let people know that this was going to happen today and they didn’t. There’s a lot of people stranded and that doesn’t make any sense,” one commuter told 7NEWS early Friday morning. “They could have announced this morning before the first train was supposed to start or the first trolley, they didn’t have to wait until people got in the station. Now there’s nobody even here to direct us to where to go.”
“I wasn’t informed of this at all,” said another commuter, who was trying to get to her community college but was left walking in circles after several MBTA workers at Government Center gave her different directions. “This is just a s— show, I can’t believe this is happening.”
In addition to service cuts, the issues with the Government Center Garage has caused several street closures in the surrounding area. Police said parts of Congress Street, Surface Road, New Chardon Street and Sudbury Street will be closed to vehicles and pedestrians.
One commuter said he thought walking would be easier than taking a shuttle, but didn’t learn of the street closures until he began walking. “Taking a shuttle bus is going to take longer because of traffic,” he said. “Didn’t know all this stuff is going on so I had to take the long way around.”
According to the developers of the Government Center Garage, a team of engineers surveying the MBTA tunnels beneath the garage discovered a column compromised from years of water damage. The developers said that the column damage is unrelated to the garage demolition. It could be days until service resumes.
The Government Center Garage was previously under structural investigation after a partial collapse left one dead in March.
The sudden closure caught thousands of evening commuters off guard. Crowds of people were left idling at the MBTA’s State Street station Thursday evening.
“This service disruption as a result of HYM’s project is unacceptable and the MBTA will seek to hold HYM Construction accountable for all costs associated with this event,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “Riders’ safety is our top priority and unfortunately, as a result of this private party’s project, we must divert trains until the tunnels can be inspected and cleared by independent experts.”
According to the MBTA, rail service through the area will be closed until a team of structural engineers make emergency repairs and confirm that the subway can safely resume.
The city said that they will work closely with the MBTA, the garage owner, and construction crews to ensure everyone’s safety.
Police said that they have closed off streets in the area to cars and pedestrians and that traffic will likely be impacted.
The MBTA is encouraging anyone who can work from home to do so for the time being.
No timeframe was given to when full service may resume.
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