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MBTA: Bulfinch Crossing Developers Damaged Tunnel, Forcing Orange, Green Lines To Suspend Service

The MBTA has indefinitely halted Orange and Green line services at Haymarket Station due to severely deteriorated columns in tunnels near the station.

The MBTA has indefinitely halted some service on its Orange and Green lines after discovering deteriorated support columns in the tunnels near Haymarket station, which the agency blames on recent construction at the Government Center Garage.

The MBTA plans to hold HYM Investment Group, the developer leading the construction of Bulfinch Crossing, financially responsible for the disruption after the agency was notified about the structural damages Thursday afternoon, it said in a statement.

“This service disruption as a result of HYM’s project is unacceptable and the MBTA will seek to hold HYM Construction accountable for all costs associated with this event,” MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said in the statement. “Riders’ safety is our top priority and unfortunately, as a result of this private party’s project, we must divert trains until the tunnels can be inspected and cleared by independent experts.” 

HYM is developing the $1.5B, 4.8-acre project with National Real Estate Advisors and Carr Properties. It is set to be constructed in four phases and will consist of multiple office, lab and residential buildings after the team demolishes 60% of the existing garage.

In a statement, HYM and NREA disputed MBTA's assertion that the development caused the damages.

“Yesterday a team of engineers conducted a survey of the MBTA tunnels underneath the Government Center Garage. A subsurface column in proximity to the Green and Orange Lines was identified as compromised from years of water damage. The condition of this column is unrelated to the demolition work at the Government Center Garage. In an abundance of caution, the MBTA is diverting operations around the Haymarket MBTA Station,” the firms said in a joint statement.

This is not the first controversy surrounding the construction of the megaproject or its impact on nearby public transit. In March, part of the garage collapsed, killing one construction worker and suspending Green Line services for two weeks.

The MBTA won't service in the area until emergency repairs are made and engineers can confirm that the subway service can resume safely. Orange Line service has been halted between Back Bay and North stations, and shuttle buses are replacing Green Line service between Government Center and Lechmere stations.