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Medford mayor 'nervous' about first weekday commute during Orange Line shutdown

Medford mayor: "Unanswered questions" on Orange Line shutdown remain ahead of Monday commute
Medford mayor: "Unanswered questions" on Orange Line shutdown remain ahead of Monday commute 04:34

MEDFORD – All has gone according to plan this weekend as the Orange Line shutdown got underway. But it's Monday that has been on the mind of Medford Mayor Breanna Lungo-Koehn.

"(Saturday), no news is good news. We had a decent day. I was out riding through Malden and Medford and everything seemed to be smooth thankfully. It's (Monday) we're pretty nervous about," Lungo-Koehn told WBZ-TV.

Monday marks the first workday commute since the Orange Line shutdown began Friday night.

Lungo-Koehn said Medford officials flagged 30 different intersections along the route where shuttle buses will be running to the state, hoping to add detail officers. But the mayor said the state and MBTA have not yet heard which will be covered.

Medford will open an emergency operations center Monday morning with extra police and firefighters working, along with members of the traffic and transportation departments.

Wellington Circle, which is already heavily congested on a normal day, is one of the mayor's biggest concerns.

"To add these buses on the every minute or two schedule that they're planning, plus you have additional riders and their vehicles who are going to avoid taking public transit in general, I think you're going to see a lot of gridlock, a lot of congestion, and it's going to disperse throughout our whole city," she said. "We're going to see it. We're going to be greatly impacted. And we're preparing the best we can. We're getting some answers, but not all. I am really hoping for the best (Monday)."

Lungo-Koehn urged people to visit the City of Medford and MBTA websites to learn more about alternate routes.

"If you can work from home, if you have that ability, I hope that employers are allowing people to work from home," she said. "Please try not to be frustrated. There's going to be long commute times. Whether you're in a car or you're trying to take the T, it used to take 20 minutes to get from Oak Grove to State Street. Now it's going to take over an hour. So please stay patient and be kind to the bus drivers."

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