Commuters hop between trains, shuttles as safety concerns suspend T service

Frustrated MBTA riders eager to return home for the weekend waited for shuttle buses outside Government Center station Friday after their train service was suspended.

Additional MBTA personnel and T ambassadors were on hand, answering questions for many confused riders.

“It’s just annoying. We’ve got deal with this stuff all the time, too,” said Jared Jones, who said he was late to work in the morning and would return home late, too. “Normally it takes me, like, 30 minutes to get home. Now, it’s going to take me a whole hour and a half today.”

“Normally, it would take me, like, an hour. It’s probably about 2.5 now,” said another rider, Shannon Donovan. “It’s awful, but it’s life, I guess.”

The T shut down Orange and Green Line service Thursday in the tunnels beneath Haymarket station due to safety concerns involving nearby parking garage support columns that pass through MBTA tunnels, the T said in a statement.

Green Line service was replaced with shuttle buses between Lechmere and Government Center. Haymarket station was closed with no shuttle availability. Orange Line service was suspended between Back Bay and North Station.

To help alleviate the travel impact, Massachusetts Department of Transportation announced is would be suspending its planned construction of the nearby Sumner Tunnel that had been scheduled for June 24, at 11 p.m., to June 27, at 5 a.m.

In its Thursday statement, the MBTA blasted HYM Investment Group, blaming its Government Center parking garage demolition for the issues.

“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.”

Supporting its claim the columns are not their responsibility, the T sent Boston 25 News a 1966 document showing the MBTA then granted the “[Boston Redevelopment Authority], its successors and assigns, a permanent easement to penetrate the ceiling and floor of its subway tunnel and station in seven locations in order to construct (and to maintain and repair) columns and foundation footings to support the public off-street parking facility…”

But HYM said the structural concerns were not caused by their demo work but rather years of water damage. HYM said a statement Friday they are “not in the business of pointing fingers,” instead, “looking to solve a problem that affects the people who live, work and commute in this city.”

“HYM’s team of engineers under the supervision of the MBTA, confirmed a problematic subsurface column within the MBTA tunnel. Upon detection, our teams immediately notified additional members of MBTA leadership of the issues the condition of this column posed. These tunnels are inaccessible without the permission of the MBTA,” said HYM Investment Group and John Moriarty & Associates. “We are thankful that we discovered this issue when we did and have been working closely with MBTA staff to rectify this issue, allow for the reopening of Congress Street and the resumption of MBTA service.”

The MBTA announced on Twitter around 7:30 p.m., Friday, repair work was underway.

“On the HYM’s Government Center Garage project - We are assisting the developer to gain access to the support columns to begin reinforcing the structures,” the T tweeted. “Repair work is underway and we will continue to support their contractors by delivering workers and materials to the site.”

The Government Center Garage project had been under investigation in March after a construction worker was killed in a partial collapse.

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