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MBTA Completes E Branch Accelerated Improvements

Posted on August 31, 2021

Regular Green Line E Branch service resumed on Sunday, August 29.
4,600 feet of track replaced, a major intersection upgraded, and improvements to 10 pedestrian crossings took place from August 2- 28.

Today, Transportation Secretary and CEO Jamey Tesler and MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak joined MASCO President and CEO David Sweeney, Mission Hill Main Streets Executive Director Ellen Walker, and others at the Thea and James M. Stoneman Centennial Park located adjacent to the reconstructed intersection at Francis Street and Huntington Avenue near the Green Line E Branch for an event highlighting the successful completion of accelerated Green Line E Branch work during the month of August. The full-access closure of the E Branch to accelerate construction this month was completed one day ahead of schedule in time for regular service to resume on Sunday, August 29, 2021. In just 27 days, crews renewed 4,600 feet of track, improved 10 pedestrian crossings, and upgraded the intersection of Huntington Avenue with Tremont Street and Francis Street. 

As part of the Green Line Transformation (GLT) program’s ongoing track renewal plan, crews utilized 24/7 access to accelerate construction and accomplish a year’s worth of night and weekend work in less than one month. The accelerated approach saved months of disruption and enabled a more efficient use of resources, allowing GLT to deliver safety and reliability improvements much sooner for the riders and communities served by the E Branch. 

Green Line E Branch test train prior to resuming service.
Green Line test train prior to resuming service.

“We appreciate the work done by the Green Line E Branch improvement project crews as they have delivered on the MBTA’s commitment to aggressively complete capital projects that are vital to improving safety and service for riders, pedestrians, and local communities,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Jamey Tesler. “In spite of continued challenges brought about by the pandemic and additional weather issues this summer, the MBTA has repaired and replaced core infrastructure, track, signals, and power ahead of schedule and along one of Boston’s busiest traffic corridors.”

“Working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, crews battled heat and a near-hurricane, and still were able to exceed the planned improvements and finish ahead of schedule,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “From planning through construction, our Green Line Transformation team worked closely with community organizations like Mission Hill Main Streets and with local officials and stakeholders in the Longwood Medical Area to mitigate the impacts of construction while delivering improvements that will better serve the community for years to come. We appreciate the patience of our riders and Green Line neighbors as we accelerated this work to improve safety and reliability for all who are served by the E Branch.” 

Green Line E Branch milestone map during the month of August

The track renewal effort included an additional 600-foot segment at South Huntington Avenue and Heath Street as well as five additional pedestrian crossings, which were added to the ongoing construction after the project began to amplify the results attained during the planned service diversion. Adding this segment during the acceleration leveraged the alternate service planning and resources already on site to improve efficiency and eliminate the need for another service disruption in the near future. 

“Keeping connected to our riders and the community was an important element in the success of the accelerated construction. Prior to starting construction, GLT held a public meeting, distributed thousands of printed flyers in multiple languages, and sent notifications via email and social media,” said MBTA Chief of Green Line Transformation Angel Peña. “We met regularly with stakeholders to understand their concerns as we planned for the work so we could minimize disruption. Throughout active construction we talked to community members at the Brigham Circle Farmer’s Market, met with local business owners, and encouraged the community to visit local businesses and restaurants, which remained open. We heard community concerns about the crosswalk conditions near Heath Street station and were able to address those during the planned service diversion as well as the additional track renewal.”  

With E Branch service suspended primarily between Brigham Circle and Heath Street Stations during the acceleration work, the Route 39 bus was free for those boarding between Heath Street and Brigham Circle.

Green Line E Branch milestone calendar during the month of August.

From August 24 through August 26, 2021, E Branch service was suspended between Brigham Circle and Northeastern Stations. The shift was required due to power section precautions as work took place in Brigham Circle. During that time, the Route 39 bus was also free for those boarding between Brigham Circle and Northeastern.

Additionally, lane closures, traffic detours, parking space removals, and bus stop relocations were required so crews could complete construction on Huntington Avenue, South Huntington Avenue, Heath Street, and adjacent streets. The MBTA thanks riders and neighbors for their patience during the service disruptions and construction. 

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