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MBTA Opens Rebuilt Government Center Station

At ceremonies March 21, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) reopened its 118-year-old Government Center Station in Boston, which has undergone a comprehensive modernization that makes it fully accessible for the first time in its history under ADA and the Boston Center for Independent Living Agreement.

“Crews have worked hard to keep our pledge to reopen the station in two years—a feat they were only able to accomplish by closing the entire station rather than parts of it,” said MBTA General Manager Frank DePaola. “We were able to work around any issues because we had the whole station available.”

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, who attended the event, said, “The reopening of Government Center, done on time and under budget, represents another step forward as the MBTA works to improve the core system for commuters and visitors alike. This project reconnects City Hall Plaza and a key area of downtown Boston to those here for business and leisure, with an increased focus on greater accessibility for all travelers.”

The station is a hub of the MBTA Green and Blue lines. The reconstruction features a new head house structure as the primary entrance, raised code-compliant platforms to provide accessible boarding of the Green Line low floor trains, the introduction of new redundant elevators from the street to the Green Line level as well as from the Green Line level to the Blue Line level, new escalators, LED signage, a new and expanded fare collection area, upgraded backup electrical power supply, improved interior finishes, mechanical systems, lighting, a public address system and a new emergency exit structure.

“This project provided an opportunity to not only address the key functional needs of the station, but also to add something special to City Hall Plaza,” said Massachusetts DOT Secretary Stephanie Pollack.

The station, originally named ­Scollay Square, opened in 1898 as the third stop on the Tremont Street Subway, the nation’s oldest subway. Eighteen years later, the Boston Elevated Railway built a tunnel under the station to extend the East Boston streetcar to Bowdoin Street. In the early 1960s, the station underwent a major renovation as part of the demolition of Scollay Square and the development of City Hall Plaza. At that time, the station was renamed Government Center.

The modernization process also uncovered something old: red and white wall tile mosaics on the station’s lower platform, reading “Scollay Under,” that had been covered by other tiles. Similar tiles on the upper platform were destroyed during the 1960s renovation. The mosaics have undergone restoration and now grace the walls of the Blue Line platform.

Massachusetts DOT Secretary and Chief Executive Officer Stephanie Pollack and MBTA General Manager Frank DePaola enter the rebuilt Government Center Station before the dedication ceremony.

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