BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — We're less than a week out from the scheduled reopening of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's Orange Line to the public, and on Tuesday, officials gave insight into what rail work remains in the late stages.
According to MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak, overall Orange Line work sits at 82 percent complete as of Tuesday. Maintenance that began in September aims to cut down on a few slow zones between Dana Bridge and North Station, bringing the total number of slow zones removed to five.
"We're in a great position to finish strong and finish on time," Poftak said during a press conference.
With the reopening set for Monday, September 19, MBTA officials say slow zones will stick around for a week where work was done during renewed Orange Line service. Officials say this is because it takes time for new track and ballast to "settle" as trains run overhead.
"It will get faster, the only caveat is it's going to take a couple days. We want to take a look and make sure everything is safe— make sure that we do a thorough inspection of the work that we've done after revenue trains run over it. Once we're satisfied that it's safe then we'll life the speed restriction," Poftak said.
In addition to the rail work, the MBTA reports that 64 new Orange Line cars will be available to ride, more than double the amount of cars available when the shutdown first began in August.
Breaking down the details into each endeavor, MBTA officials say crews have completed:
- 65 percent of rail replacement is complete.
- 90 percent of track replacement is complete.
- About 99 percent of special track work is complete.
- About 99 percent of Cologne eggs and rail fastener work near Tufts Medical Center station is complete. MBTA officials say "Cologne eggs" are special rail fasteners used in high vibration and noise-sensitive areas.
- 84 percent of signal upgrades are complete, following testing at Oak Grove and Malden Center Stations.
WBZ's Karyn Regal (@Karynregal) reports.