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MBTA Knocks Down 22 More Slow Zones, Including Lechmere Viaduct

1:27 PM EST on December 22, 2023

An arch of the newly refurbished Lechmere Viaduct, pictured from Charles River Dam Road.

While the Green Line extension was being built, the MBTA also rehabilitated the Lechmere Viaduct over the Charles River to reinforce the century-old concrete spans with carbon fiber and replace the track infrastructure on top of the viaduct. The viaduct re-opened to transit service along with the rest of the new Green Line branch to Union Square on Monday, March 21, 2022.

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A nine-day shutdown of the Green Line's D branch between Kenmore Square and Riverside has let the MBTA repair enough track to remove 22 more speed restrictions from the rapid transit network.

“I’m proud of our workforce as we have addressed nearly six miles of track infrastructure along the D Branch, giving our riders a smoother, faster, and more reliable trip. Through close collaboration between contractors and our Maintenance of Way team, the MBTA continues to demonstrate a new way of doing business and safely improving our infrastructure," said MBTA General Manager Phillip Eng in a press release issued Thursday.

An animated GIF shows the MBTA map of rapid transit lines with icons representing slow zones. One frame shows slow zones on December 14, with clusters of blue dots representing speed restrictions under 25 mph along the D branch of the Green Line. The second frame shows slow zones on December 21, with no speed restrictions on the D branch. Dense clusters of slow zone icons still remain on the central trunk of the Green Line and on parts of the B branch, plus other subway lines.
The MBTA's official map of speed restrictions on December 14th and on December 21st, illustrating the removal of many slow zones on the Riverside branch of the Green Line and an additional speed restriction lifted on the Lechmere Viaduct.

According to the T, its workers were able to install nearly 2,800 railroad ties, plus 4,750 feet of rail during the 9-day closure. Crews also conducted associated maintenance work for the line's signals and stations.

Elsewhere in the system, the T was also able to eliminate two other notable hassles for riders in the past week.

Track repair crews working on the Lechmere Viaduct have finally been able to restore full-speed service between Lechmere and Science Park – a slow zone that persisted for almost two years, and in spite of a major reconstruction of the viaduct that re-opened with the first phase of the Green Line Extension in early 2022.

Additionally, private-sector developers have finally finished demolishing the Government Center parking garage in downtown Boston, allowing the T to re-open the Haymarket station.

The garage demolition has forced intermittent closures of Haymarket for over a year now, but according to an MBTA press release "there are no other disruptions to MBTA service anticipated" now that the garage is really and truly gone.

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