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MBTA cuts Riverside service to protect Kenmore station from Muddy River floodwaters

MORNING UPDATE: The Muddy River dropped below flood stage, even if barely, so Riverside service is running this morning - although river levels have started rising again (hourly river-level data).

LATER MORNING UPDATE: The Muddy River got all floody again, so the T put the dam back and stopped Riverside service.

Around 9 p.m., the MBTA blocked off the Fenway portal used by the Riverside line to prevent a recurrence of the 1996 floods that left Kenmore station submerged in 20 feet of water and required $40 million in repairs.

The move means Riverside commuters can expect delays tomorrow as they ride shuttle buses instead of trolleys between Reservoir and Kenmore, the T advises.

A federal monitoring station on the Muddy reported the normally docile river reached flood stage around 8:45 p.m. A T alert announcing the suspension of service between Kenmore and Reservoir went out not long after.

Following a 1962 flood, the then MTA built some columns, near where the Riverside line goes underground, into which to fit wooden boards to act as a temporary dam. One of the reasons for the 1996 flooding was that workers couldn't find the boards in time and, as in 1962, sandbags failed to keep the Muddy River out of the station.

USGS flood chart at 8:45 p.m.:

Thanks to the folks in this thread for their info.

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Comments

I don't know if the track configuration makes that feasible, but it might make more sense than herding D Line riders onto shuttle buses at Reservoir.

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They can run the D in via C, although its an awkward move that requires trains in both directions to change ends at Reservoir.
But that might need to conserve buses on the Green Line if the Red Line is still shut down between JFK U Mass and Ashmont because of water in the tunnel between Shawmut and Ashmont:

from MBTA alerts Sunday night:
Red Line service has been suspended between JFK/UMASS & Ashmont station due to weather related conditions. Substitute bus service will replace regular train service between JFK/UMASS & Ashmont. Please expect delays and allow additional time for your commute.3/14/2010 10:34 PM

but hopefully the damaged wire on the Blue Line will be fixed by Monday morning, freein gup those buses:
"Blue Line service has been suspended between Airport and Wonderland stations due to an overhead wire problem in the Orient Heights area. Substitute bus service will replace regular train service between Airport and Wonderland making all stops. Please expect delays and allow additional time for your commute. 3/14/2010 5:01 PM "

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As of 6 AM Monday:
The height of the Muddy went down below 15 ft and Green Line service was restored for the morning rush.

The Blue Line wires were repaired and normal service resumed for the morning rush.

On the Red Line, water still in the tunnel above the rails between Shawmut and Ashmont, but at least they have restored service south to Fields Cor from JFK UMass and are only running buses from Fields Corner to Ashmont

Hats off to the MBTA crews working overnight through the storm.

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from the D line to the C line at Cleveland Circle.

But dont the C, D, and B lines all go into the same flooded station? Unless they are talking about the beginning of where the D line goes underground after the Fenway stop?

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The whole point of this exercise is to *prevent* Kenmore station from being flooded by closing off the D Line where it goes into the tunnel.

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Didn't they spend a fortune after 1996 to prevent this from happening again?

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Went to repairing the damage from the flood and installing a new signaling system.

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So they didn't, you know, fix the problem?

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In 1996 they were unable to close the D Line portal to prevent the Muddy River from overflowing into it. This time, they're trying to do just that -- and hopefully succeeding.

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Wooden beams to form a temporary dam. And they had that in 1996. But they couldn't find the beams and tried using sandbags, just like they did in 1962, with about the same results.

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Technically they replaced the old system in kind. The green line is still waiting for a 'newly designed' signal system that'll address some of the slowness issues....

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I thought the proposed signal system is intended to prevent rear-end collisions, and it's on hold because they're predicting it would make the Green Line *far slower* than it is today (if that's even possible).

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We drove by that area tonight not knowing about the flooding and it's striking how high the water is.

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What is causing those 12-hour fluctuations in the Muddy River surface elevation? tides? Charles river dam releases? http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ma/nwis/uv/?site_no=0110...

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I don't think it's the Charles, unless the Charles is backing up (hmm, tides?), since the Muddy flows into the Charles (you might be thinking of the Mother Brook, which connects the Charles with the Neponset).

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The Charles River Dam down by the Zakim Bridge typically releases during low tide only. When they release through the dam, it lowers the level of the Charles River Basin. This changes the outfall elevation for tributaries like the Muddy River. About 6 inches of change are observed at the USGS gauge on Netherlands Rd. This is why the river stage cycles every 12 hours.

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Adamg, The "original head of the tide," according to figure 5 on page 10 of Water Resources and the Urban Environment, Lower Charles River Watershed, Massachusetts, 1630–2005 [caution 2.23 MB pdf] that you posted (and thank you very much) is at the Watertown Dam at the western edge of Watertown.

It gives us an idea of exactly how flat the Charles River watershed is, and how far inland the tidal effects go.

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