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Government Center Station of the MBTA, located at the intersection of Tremont, Court and Cambridge Streets in the Government Center neighborhood of Boston, is the transfer point between the Green Line and the Blue Line. Before the current Boston City Hall was built, the station was known as Scollay on the Green Line and Scollay Under on the Blue Line.

AttractionsEdit

Government Center Station is wheelchair accessible as of 2016. The Blue Line platform is at the center of the tracks, so wheelchair transfer between Blue and Green Line trains is possible. A renovation that will make the station accessible is planned, and was opened on March 21st. See MBTA accessibility.

Renovation Edit

In 1990, the state agreed to a number of transit expansion and renovation projects to settle a lawsuit from the Conservation Law Foundation over the environmental impacts of the Big Dig. Due to its cost, complexity, and the need to completely shut down a major transfer station, Government Center was the last of 80 key stations to be upgraded for handicapped accessibility. Site preparation began in mid-2013, and the main construction contract was awarded to Barletta Heavy Division in July 2013.

On March 22, 2014, Government Center Station closed for two years for the reconstruction, which included new elevators, station entrance and lobbies, emergency exit-only structure on Cambridge Street between Court and Sudbury Street, escalators, LED signage, expanded fare collection area, upgraded back-up electrical power supply, improved interior finishes, station lighting, mechanical systems, and public address system. Additional vendor retail space was provided on both Green Line and Blue Line platforms. The platform levels feature terrazzo flooring color-coded to the lines.

During Government Center station's closure, Green Line trains passed through but did not stop at the station. For the duration of the closure, the "B" Branch was cut back to Park Street, while the "D" Branch was cut to Park Street at rush hours and North Station at other times. The "C" and "E" branches kept their usual terminals. Bowdoin station was kept open for all MBTA operating hours (for the first time since 1981) during the closure. A shuttle bus, the 608 Haymarket via Government Center Loop route, operated in a loop from Haymarket station via State Street station, Government Center station, and Bowdoin station.

During the first two months of renovations, two additional Scollay Under tile signs were uncovered on the Blue Line level. After the first sign was discovered in April, the MBTA announced that it would be restored and placed in the renovated station, similar to previously found mosaics at South Station and Arlington. In total, five 'Scollay Under', one 'Scollay', and two single-letter mosaics were restored. An original faregate, ticket booth, and ceiling arches were also found. The 1970s Mary Beams murals - made of house paint on plywood - did not meet fire code for installation in the rebuilt station. Instead, they were sold at auction in October 2015, with the proceeds going to an enamel commemorative panel and new artworks placed in the new station.

By September 2014, demolition was completed and the steel frame of the new glass headhouse had been erected. At that point, the project was on schedule and on budget. In July 2015 the MBTA announced that the project was still on schedule for a Spring 2016 reopening. In August 2015, the MBTA revealed that the glass used on the headhouse was defective due to poor workmanship, with failed seals between the double-paned glass causing fogging. The glass was replaced at the contractor's expense and did not affect the project's schedule.

On February 2, 2016, the MBTA announced that the station would reopen on March 26, 2016 and that the project was within its budget. On February 19, the MBTA tested multicolored LED lights that will illuminate the glass headhouse. After several unpublicized notices, the MBTA announced on March 9 that the station would open on March 21 instead, with a ceremony at 11:45am and full opening an hour later. On the radio command of Governor Charlie Baker, service to the station resumed at 12:43pm.

Design and engineering for the station cost $25 million; the MBTA estimated the construction cost would be $91 million. The primary construction contract was for $82 million, and total construction cost was $88 million.

The new station headhouse design was heavily criticized in a monthly architectural review by the social commentator and critic James Howard Kunstler. The headhouse has also been criticized for blocking the view of Old North Church from Tremont Street.

TriviaEdit

The false walls on both ends of the Blue Line platform were recently removed to accommodate the future use of six-car trains. A surviving tile mosaic Scollay Under sign, which was previously hidden due to the false wall, can be seen on the eastern portion of the platform.

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