The Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA) announced on Sunday February 11 that the Baltimore SubwayLink subway system would be closing for “up to four weeks” after inspections found tracks worse off then officials thought.
MTA officials say they will evaluate a partial reopening of the system as repairs are made and the tracks are available again for use. $2.2 million provided by Maryland will fund coach buses to replace the subway system during the repairs.
MDOT MTA announces the entire Metro SubwayLink system will remain closed for up to four weeks for emergency repairs. A free local and express bus bridge will start 2/12 at 5am. For more information on the closure and bus bridge, visit https://t.co/dzfKatFyyU #MDOTNews pic.twitter.com/ECWc4JOm3g
— MTA Maryland (@mtamaryland) February 11, 2018
The Baltimore subway system is comprised of 14 stations and was first opened in November 1983. Its 15-mile length carries approximately 40,000 people per day, making it the 11th largest rapid transit system in the U.S.
MTA officials first announced on Thursday February 8 that the system would be closed through Sunday the 11th. Inspectors evaluating the tracks in advance of work the system planned to perform over the summer discovered that “some sections of track needed replacement sooner than expected.” The agency later extended the closure of several stations on the northwest side of the system on Friday before finally extending the closure of the entire system on Sunday.
Specifics on the types of track issues found were not made available. MTA CEO Kevin Quinn told the Baltimore Sun that the tracks themselves were not rusted or cracked, but had undergone “normal wear and tear.” “The part that’s above ground, on the elevated sections, it’s exposed completely to the elements, and it has been for 36 years,” said Quinn.
Three weeks of trackwork in 2016 closed three stations on the northwestern side of the system – Reisterstown Plaza, Rogers Avenue, and West Cold Spring – to allow track workers to completely replace three interlockings, which allow trains to cross from one track to the other.