The MBTA announced today it's going to shut the Blue Line in downtown Boston for two weeks this month to do track repairs originally scheduled for a series of weekends later this year.
The shutdown of the Blue Line between Bowdoin and Aquarium starts May 18. Buses will replace trains during that time, with the T saying it will make sure to have enough buses to ensure social distancing for the few people - almost all essential workers - now riding the Blue Line.
This Blue Line work was previously scheduled to be accomplished through a series of weekend diversions later this year, and doing the work now allows its completion at a time when both transit ridership and traffic on the roadways that shuttle buses will use is much lower than it is likely to be by the fall.
The T is now looking at whether there are other repair projects it can do during the relative downtime that the current societal slowdown might allow. In a statement, T General Manager Steve Poftak said:
The work accomplished during this closure will lead to numerous benefits, including increased train speeds, shorter travel times, and a more reliable service schedule. Our main focus continues to be safety, especially during the COVID-19 situation, with the MBTA’s shuttle plan including measures that promote social distancing. We know these diversions can be an inconvenience, but the service suspension allows us expedite critical track and tunnel infrastructure work and remove the restrictions that currently limit train speeds.