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Baker, MBTA say Orange Line work on track to finish on time

MBTA, Baker confident Orange Line will reopen on time
MBTA, Baker confident Orange Line will reopen on time 02:24

BOSTON - Governor Charlie Baker expressed confidence the Orange Line will reopen on time during a visit to an MBTA stop. 

The governor got a look at some of the 900 feet of new track installed at the State Street MBTA station Sunday afternoon. Baker asked questions of project managers and heard updates from the MBTA regarding progress and timeline. 

"I am actually pretty confident about that, and I base that confidence on the fact that a lot of the work here can be done on a 24-hour period," said Baker.

As it stands, the Orange Line is set to reopen September 19. 

The MBTA said they have completed 37% of the entire project so far, roughly a quarter of the way into the projected month-long shutdown. 

MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak is not going as far to say they are ahead of schedule. 

"I would say we are on schedule," said Poftak. "I don't want to count these chickens before they hatch. We are on schedule I think we are cautiously confident in our ability to do this." 

Governor Baker continued to point out the benefit of a full shutdown when it comes to construction workflow. 

"You don't have to spend hours getting onto the tracks and off of the tracks and having really limited time to actually do work," said Baker. "Here they can basically own the tracks 24/7. They can work on them on two shifts and dramatically speed up how long this work is going to take, which was the point of this in the first place." 

Above ground, riders like mother and daughter duo Mary and Marixa said they are trying to navigate the world of shuttle buses. Mary took it for the first time Sunday from downtown to Assembly Square. 

"Under the circumstances I think they are doing very well. The drivers are very polite, and people are behaving themselves, so I loved it," said Mary. 

Marixa said she hopes this entire shutdown is worth it and that the troubles for the 'T' occur less often than before. 

"I am just praying that we can get back on a level of like every five minutes when the trains are coming," said Marixa. "Especially when it's rush hour in the morning and I am taking the train at 6:45am to get to work." 

It is why the MBTA said it was doing this shutdown in the first place. Hoping to get five years of construction out of the way in a 30-day period. 

"This may not look like a ballet ensemble behind me but the amount of choreography that has gone into managing and planning a number of projects with a limited number of access points has been extraordinary," said Poftak.  

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