Major disruptions to the Green and Orange Lines are expected to continue for several days after a contractor discovered garage pilings running through the MBTA tunnels near Haymarket Station had deteriorated.
The MBTA announced Thursday night that the Orange Line will not operate between Back Bay and North Station, as of now. She said Orange Line passengers could use the Green Line between Copley and Government Center stations as an alternative.
In addition, the Green Line will be replaced by shuttle buses between Lechmere and Government Center stations.
MBTA said HYM Construction, the contractor that demolished the government center’s private garage, told the Transportation Authority on Thursday afternoon that garage support poles that are part of the metro tunnels around Haymarket station had become dilapidated.
The MBTA said the tunnel area is currently an unsafe environment for trains passing through, so the service should be stopped immediately.
In a statement, MBTA General Manager Steve Bufftak blamed HYM Construction for the service disruption.
“The interruption of service as a result of the HYM project is unacceptable and the MBTA will seek to hold HYM Construction responsible for all costs associated with this event,” Poftak said. “Passenger safety is our top priority, and unfortunately, as a result of this private party’s project, we must divert trains until the tunnels have been inspected and cleared by independent experts.”
An MBTA spokesperson explained to Boston.com by phone that although garage support goes through MBTA tunnels, they are part of the privately owned garage, and therefore not the responsibility of the MBTA.
In a statement, WBZ-TV reported that HYM Construction said the columns had deteriorated due to water damage, and that the outage was not the result of construction work in progress in the garage.
“A subsurface plume near the green and orange lines has been identified as being at risk from years of water damage,” HYM said in a statement to CBS News. “The condition of this pillar has nothing to do with demolition work in the government center’s garage.”
The MBTA said it will not resume rail service through the Haymarket Tunnels until a team of structural engineers make emergency repairs and confirm that subway service can safely resume.
T said it will provide service updates to customers as inspections continue, but it expects the outage to last for several days.
The MBTA said that additional MBTA employees will be on hand to assist customers during outages. Additional access vans will also be available, and interested riders should ask MBTA staff for information.
“Given the expected delays on local roads as buses navigate the streets of downtown Boston, the MBTA is also encouraging travelers directly affected by the tunnel closure to consider working from home if possible during this time,” the MBTA wrote.
These outages are the latest in a long line of issues facing the MBTA in recent months.
Earlier this week, the transit agency pulled all of its new Orange Line trains from service due to a battery problem with some of them. In the previous week, it reduced service on the red, orange and blue lines in response to federal authorities criticizing the use of fatigued train dispatchers.
On June 15, the Federal Transportation Authority issued four special directives to the MBTA in an effort to immediately increase safety. The FTA had been checking the MBTA for weeks after a string of safety failures in which people were injured.
In one of the most alarming cases, a man was dragged to death after his arm got stuck between the doors of a train car on the Red Line. Train cars are not supposed to be able to move forward when the doors are blocked.
The FTA has yet to decide whether or not to take over the MBTA to prevent further problems, and a decision is likely to be made at the end of the summer. A similar federal takeover has only happened once before, in Washington, DC
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