After numerous delays, completion of the Boston University Central and East T stops is now scheduled for the end of November, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Green Line Chief Brian Dwyer said last week.
The renovation of the stops, located in front of Warren Towers and the School of Theology, is part of a 1989 Light Rail Accessibility Program designed to make the transit system accessible to persons with disabilities, MBTA spokeswoman Lydia Rivera said.
Four other stops included in the $13 million renovation program have been completed, including Cleveland Circle, Coolidge Corner, St. Mary’s Street and Washington Square.
Construction on the BU Central and East stops began in March 2002 and was initially scheduled for completion in September of that year. The MBTA has since announced and missed two other deadlines including December 2002 and March 2003.
According to a Daily Free Press article, the December and March deadlines were missed due to unusually inclement weather.
Rivera said the most recent delays resulted from problems with E.J. Sciaba, the original contractor signed to the project.
The contractor notified the MBTA last spring that they would be unable to finish the job due to ‘circumstances beyond their control,’ Rivera said.
SPS New England Inc. signed as the new contractor over the summer, Dwyer said.
‘The project was put out as a public bid over the summer, and SPS was the lowest bidder,’ SPS Corporate Safety Officer Gary Doyle said.
Doyle said SPS was unable to begin work on the stops until Sept. 15 because they had to spend a week ‘cleaning up junk that the other construction company had left.’
According to Doyle, the construction was also delayed because of contract problems.
‘A lot of legal things have to be taken care of before anything else can get done,’ he said. ‘It’s a lot slower than people would like, but because the MBTA is dealing with public money to fund the project, there are certain prescribed procedures that have to be followed.’
Doyle said most of the major construction is complete, but many small components remain unfinished. Correcting handicap access ramps that were installed incorrectly, building another station canopy, installing rubber joints and completing fence work still need to be completed, he said.
According to Doyle, SPS expects to meet the November deadline.
‘The project will be completed unless there are unforeseen delays such as materials not coming in,’ he said. ‘A number of things could cause a delay.’
The MBTA has also proposed closing four existing B-line stops including Fordham Rd., Greycliff Rd., Mount Hood Rd. and Summit Ave., Dwyer said.
‘We want to improve service on the line,’ he said. ‘A good idea to expedite service is to eliminate some of the stops.’
Dwyer said he expects closing these stops would cut about two and a half minutes of travel time.
The MBTA has not announced dates for the closures due to current meetings between city officials and the public. Dwyer said the MBTA would use the meetings to gain a sense of how people feel about eliminating the stops.
‘The majority of responses have been positive, but there have been some people who don’t want their stops closed,’ he said.
Dwyer also said the MBTA plans to implement a six-month trial period where the stops will temporarily close in order to test the efficiency of the decision.
MBTA officials have announced an Oct. 7 public meeting in Brighton for residents to voice their opinion on the proposed stop closings.
Despite the proposal to close four Green Line stops, Dwyer insisted opening the BU Central and BU East stops is ‘incumbent.’
‘These are stops that are valuable to the Green Line and are used heavily,’ he said. ‘So no one can argue that it isn’t good to open these stops.’
However, students have mixed feelings about the T’s attempts to improve customer service.
‘It’s not how many stops the T has, but how many trains they have,’ College of Arts and Sciences sophomore Erma Bele said. ‘There were two trains right after each other they were full and it took a half hour for another train to come.’
CAS freshman Jason Eliowitz said he has no complaints about using the T and feels stop elimination is a good idea.
‘It’s not that bad,’ Eliowitz said. ‘I can’t complain. It’s easier than walking.’