Orange Line Shutdown: A Trip Along the Replacement Shuttle Route

Beginning Friday, the Orange Line of the MBTA will be out of service for 30 days; here is a closer look at the route replacement shuttle buses will take

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When the Orange Line shuts down in two days, tens of thousands of riders will rely on shuttle buses to get around.

The MBTA recently released what those routes are going to look like, and NBC10 Boston decided to test drive some of them in advance of the shutdown.

Starting at Oak Grove station in Malden, Massachusetts, we could not even get to the next stop before we ran into construction. City leaders tell us they had to give the state a list of projects happening along the routes, but they have yet to get any further instruction on what to do with them.

Then there is the traffic. There was plenty of it heading from Wellington Station through Assembly Square, and hardly a bus lane in sight. Somerville set up some barriers for a bus lane heading to Sullivan Station, but they are on a city road. Many of the routes will run on state roads, and Rep. Mike Connolly, a Democrat representing Cambridge and Somerville, is calling on the state to do more to prioritize buses in those areas.

"We need the MBTA and MassDOT to deal with these difficult intersections north of Boston," Connolly said.

He also said he is shocked at the lack of signage telling people where the shuttle buses will pick up and drop off.

The monthlong service suspension on the Orange Line of the MBTA will begin Friday, but not all regular riders know how they'll get around.

"A lot needs to happen in 48 hours," he said Wednesday.

We didn't see any work happening as we made it to our last stop, Community College in Boston. To help deal with the confusion, Medford's mayor said she was told to hire police details, but she still has no idea how that is supposed to work.

"Who is going to do those details — the state or the city? Do we even have enough personnel in our city police department to handle those shifts? And how are we going to afford them?" asked mayor Breanna Lungo-Koehn.

To alleviate some of the traffic, she is proposing some of the shuttle buses run express to certain stops. She said MBTA officials told her they'll consider it.

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