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The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority plans to replace a portion of the Red Line train service with buses from Kendall to Park Station for 25 weekends, starting this summer and continuing to the fall of 2016.
The Red Line will not be able to continue as scheduled because Longfellow Bridge, which connects Cambridge and Boston, will be undergoing construction.
The Longfellow Bridge Rehabilitation Project, coordinated by Massachusetts Department of Transportation, will upgrade the bridge’s structural capacity and bring it up to modern safety codes. While improving the conditions of the bridge, the construction could hinder students from traveling to Boston.
“It’ll be pretty inconvenient for college students particularly those at Harvard, MIT, and Tufts who don’t have an alternative way of getting around,” Christopher J. Magnani ’15 said.
Will F. Poff-Webster ’14 echoed Magnani’s concerns, emphasizing that students do not take advantage of the Harvard’s proximity to Boston.
“Harvard students don’t go into Boston often enough,” Poff-Webster said. “The Red Line is an important resource to help students explore Boston. Taking it away would make that far less prevalent.”
The Longfellow Bridge Rehabilitation Project is a part of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s Accelerated Bridge Program, in which the state allocated $400 million to improving the conditions of structurally deficient bridges in the Lower Basin area of the Charles River.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation Board of Directors approved the construction contract for the Longfellow Bridge on Feb. 27. This decision marks the Final Rehabilitation phase of the Longfellow Bridge Rehabilitation Project, following the first Early Action stage, which was completed in January 2012.
In addition to structural improvement, the bridge will be modified to allow the sidewalk approaches to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibilty Guidelines.
According to MBTA Director of Communications Joe Pesaturo, only five of the affected weekends will fall in 2013. Once they are finalized, the dates of the weekends in which part of the Red Line will be replaced with buses will be available on the MBTA website. The Red Line celebrated its hundreth anniversary last year.
—Staff writer Julia K. Dean can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @juliakdean.
—Staff writer Laura K. Reston can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @laurareston.
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