Suffolk County

Orange Line riders working out plans, alternate routes for shutdown

BOSTON — It’s one thing to read the MBTA’s 16-page “Riders Guide to Planning Ahead” for when the Orange Line shuts down for repairs. It’ll be another to live it for a month.

“I am dreading it, yes. I am dreading it, big time,” said Tracy, an IT worker from Everett who uses the Orange Line to get to her job in Chinatown. She expects her 45 minute commute to double next week.

“I’m not going to do the bus because there’s too many problems on the bus,” she said.

State officials are warning traffic on Massachusetts roads will be “severe” and commute times will be longer when the MBTA shuts down the Orange Line later this week in an effort to complete five years worth of upgrades in a span of 30 days.

“Whether you drive, bike or walk, you will see changes in your everyday commute and your commute will likely be longer,” Massachusetts State Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver said during a news conference Monday at MassDOT headquarters.

The shutdown will begin Friday at 9:00 p.m. The first real test of the closure will follow on August 22 when the first morning rush happens. The shutdown is scheduled to last until September 18.

Melrose resident Cory Schad has relied on the Orange Line every day for more than a decade. He said he is avoiding shuttle buses at any cost.

“As soon as they start saying they’re going to bring buses into play, it’s never a good thing. It’s never going to end well,” Schad said. “I’m not going to get on the shuttle bus. That just sounds like a disaster. But the commuter rail will probably be alright.”

Renee Kalan lives in Boston and works in Somerville. She’s going to spend this week trying different routes to see what works best.

“I’m going to take the bus or I’m going to find a different Green Line [train] and deal with the shuttles. I don’t know, I’m kind of just testing different things out,” Kalan said. “I think that I might actually walk. It’s about three and a half miles but it’s not a bad walk.”

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