There's no immediate timetable on when Cambridge's Alewife Station will fully reopen after a car crashed intentionally on Saturday, sending a 5-ton concrete block tumbling into its atrium, officials said Monday.
Shuttle buses are replacing Red Line train service between Alewife and the Davis Square stations, and will continue to do so for at least the rest of the week, MBTA Interim General Manager Jeff Gonneville said at a news conference. Parts of the parking garage may reopen within a few days, he said, but he didn't have a date for when the station's damaged mezzanine would fully reopen the public.
The crash on the top floor of the garage sent a 10,000-lb. block of the garage's sidewall falling onto the station's distinctive metal roof trusses, Gonneville said. Debris, including shattered glass, spilled onto the floor of the space, where passengers walk, and the car was seen hanging precariously off the roof of the parking structure.
A child was hit by glass and sent to the hospital, but Gonneville said it could have been worse.
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"This could have been an absolutely horrific event," he said.
The driver of the car was found unconscious and taken to a local hospital, according to Cambridge first responders, but more hasn't been shared about what made investigators call the act "intentional."
Gonneville on Monday referred questions about their status to MBTA Transit Police, which was working with local prosecutors. A representative for transit police had no update regarding the driver, their identity or if charges will be brought.
About 5,000 people use the station for their daily commute, according to Gonneville, and the MBTA is working to ensure all travelers' safety when the facility reopens in stages.
The garage will be reopened first, with access to the mezzanine and roof restricted. Then, as soon as next week, the entrance to the Red Line next to Russell Field — across Alewife Brook Parkway — will reopen, allowing Red Line service to resume. But Gonneville said that the MBTA first needs to ensure that the station would be safe in case of an evacuation.
Lastly, while the 5-ton barrier has been removed from the roof trusses, the full station won't reopen until the roof is fully evaluated for safety and a barrier is put up to prevent a similar incident, Gonneville said.
"This was a very serious incident and cetainly something we are making sure as well, when we open the station … that the situation will be safe," he said.
Buses were picking up and dropping off passengers in the station's busway. Anyone who uses Alewife Station to travel was encouraged to look at the MBTA Trip Planner for alternate routes, including the Commuter Rail.
"It took me off guard," commuter Nakisha Leonardo said. "When I got here I Thought they were just doing construction."