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Wollaston Station on track to re-open this summer

The Patriot Ledger - 1/4/2019

Jan. 04--QUINCY -- One year into an extensive renovation of Wollaston Station, MBTA officials said the project is on budget and on track to re-open in August.

The $33 million, 20-month construction project will make Wollaston Station -- previously the only Red Line station not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act -- fully accessible for the first time. Other improvements include three new elevators, two new escalators, two new stairways, additional customer paths, new bathrooms and energy efficient lighting, along with better safety and fire protection features, flood mitigation and other utility and infrastructure upgrades.

The old concrete platform and structure have already been torn down and the steel skeleton of a new and improved station has begun to take shape. MBTA Spokesman Joe Pesaturo said there is still work to be done to install elevators and escalators, as well as electrical, mechanical and plumbing work to finish. He said all work is on track to get the station re-opened this summer.

"The project remains on schedule," he said on Thursday.

Until then, Red Line trains will continue to bypass Wollaston Station, which closed for construction on Jan. 8, 2018. While the station is closed, the T has hired Yankee Line to provide about 25 shuttle buses during peak times to transport commuters between North Quincy, Wollaston and Quincy Center stations.

Officials, for the most part, say the response to the shuttle buses has been positive, but disability advocates say they have been forced to contend with problems that include buses without functioning lifts or drivers who know how to use them, insufficient space for more than one wheelchair user and a lack of visual notifications for deaf riders.

In September, a group of disabled activists rallied in Quincy to draw attention to some of the problems. Pesaturo at the time said they were working with Yankee to improve services and encouraged riders to report any issues.

The Wollaston Station renovation is just one part of nearly $1 billion being invested into Red Line infrastructure south of Boston. All five stations in Quincy and Braintree are in the midst of or poised to begin renovations, and 252 new Red Line train cars are slated go into service starting in the fall.

Reach Erin Tiernan at etiernan@patriotledger.com or 617-786-7320. Follow her on Twitter @ErinTiernan.

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