As the MBTA prepares for a month-long shutdown of the Orange Line, confusion briefly spread among commuters on Thursday over the exact dates for the line’s closure.
Signs at several stations incorrectly stated that there would be no Orange Line service from August 22 to September 18. In fact, the shutdown begins at 9 p.m. on Friday, August 19. It should be closed until Monday, September 19. 19.
Tom Ryan, senior government affairs adviser at A Better City, was one of the people to spot the incorrect signs. Just after 10 a.m. Thursday, he posted a pic on twitter of a sign with incorrect dates outside the entrance to Gare du Nord.
Another Twitter user replied, including a photo of the same error at Haymarket Station. An incorrect sign was also installed at the Community College station, according to NBC Boston.
MBTA’s official account responded to Ryan minutes later, writing that the agency’s “signs team” will fix the issue.
“MBTA apologizes for the error. Some A-Frame panels are being replaced,” MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said in a statement late Thursday.
Although the signs displayed incorrect dates, the QR code they contained linked to a webpage with the correct information, according to NBC.
The Green Line is scheduled to be replaced with shuttle service between Government Center and Union Square stations from August 22 through September 18, which are the incorrectly posted dates for the Orange Line closure.
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu was asked about the signage confusion on Thursday.
“That’s why we need all your help to spread the word”, she said a group of journalists.
Closing the Orange Line is a major MBTA decision that will surely cause short-term headaches, but hopefully long-term sustainable improvements. It was announced earlier this month, with officials saying the lengthy closure was necessary to replace track, upgrade signals and fully integrate new Orange Line trains.
Specifically, over 3,500 feet of 38-year-old track will be replaced. The closure will allow workers to complete projects that would have taken up to five years to complete with smaller periodic closures, MBTA officials said earlier this month.
Although this work theoretically improves the safety and speed of subway users in the future, drivers must now prepare for a month of heavy traffic.
MassDOT Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver said the closure will have “substantial impacts on regional travel” during a news conference this week. “It is evident that significant congestion will be felt across the region,” he added.
Some routes will see their capacity cut in half to accommodate all the additional shuttles replacing subway service, Gulliver said. Cyclists and pedestrians should also exercise more caution, as the shuttles used have larger blind spots and different turning radii than normal MBTA buses.
Detailed information on changes to MBTA in the near future can be found at MBTA.com/BBT2022.
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