This fall the MBTA is set to close Porter, Davis, and Alewife stations on four separate weekends in order to finish necessary track and tunnel maintenance.
The T will close the three stations north of Harvard and replace train service with shuttle buses on the weekends of Nov. 17-18; Nov. 24-25; Dec. 1-2; and December 8-9.
The closures are part of a continuing multi-year project which started in November of last year. The first phase of the project caused the Red Line north of Harvard to be closed on weekends for four months. Although this time around the closures are not as extensive, the same type of work will be taking place.
The MBTA plans on replacing corroded and damaged sections of trackage, concrete slabs, electrical wiring, and third rail as well as plugging tunnel cracks and sealing water leaks.
The Harvard to Alewife extension, which opened in 1985, has a specialized track that runs along thousands of concrete slabs instead of wooden ties. These slabs float on rubber disks, almost resembling hockey pucks, that help to cushion the trains vibrations. Over the years tunnel leaks have caused these slabs to crack and their rubber disks to corrode, which poses the risk of rail movement.
This necessary maintenance, which is set to cost around $34 Million, will be funded out of the MBTA's Capital Improvement budget. The T also received a little over $4.3 million in stimulus money to help off set the cost of the project. Here is the funding request.
The reason for the closures is that the project cannot be managed solely within the 3 ½-hour window each morning when the T is closed, without disrupting service. Materials must be hauled in and out each weekend on special trucks outfitted to drive on rails, with the nearest entry point at the mouth of the tunnel near Kendall Station two miles from Harvard and nearly five miles from Alewife.