Winter is coming: how electricians are working with the MBTA to save the day
As October comes to a close and temperatures start to drop, we all know one thing to be true: winter is fast approaching and snowfall is not far off. Residents and commuters from all corners of the state have found it hard to forget the severe snow storms that dumped more than 100 inches of snow on Boston and the transit collapse that resulted from that harsh winter weather. The region’s transportation service (the MBTA) was severely impacted, which in turn had a major effect on the thousands of people in the area who depend on it for their daily commutes.
As the 2016 winter approaches, Bostonians are holding their collective breath for less snow and commuters hope that improvements are in place to ensure smoother rides during the winter months. Earlier this year, the transit system’s leaders proposed a plan for upgrades that aim to ramp up snow equipment, implement infrastructure improvements and increase transportation reliability over the next five years.
According to the plan, state leaders are calling for upgrades that include replacing rails and upgrading heaters along above ground sections of the Red and Orange lines, installing fencing to mitigate snow drift accumulation on tracks, and purchasing additional power generators and specialized snow removal equipment. In addition to these measures, it is important that we are also investing in the best technology that will not only help us get by this winter, but will help shape Massachusetts as a leader in public infrastructure.
For example, the MBTA is currently in the middle of updating the Government Station Train Station located on the Green and Blue lines. Government Station is the oldest transit station in the United States, and though many upgrades took place over the years that the station has been in operation, it was due for another. Most of the project consists of upgrading the 600-volt electrical system that run through the old station, among other upgrades and improvements to electrical wiring in order to make the station more efficient and reliable. To complete the project, the MBTA is calling on both public and private companies and organizations to ensure that the highest quality and most innovative systems will be used at the newly renovated station.
This approach is one that the MBTA should strongly consider as it works to upgrade the rest of its extensive system. The result would create a more reliable transit system capable of running in harsh weather conditions while providing commuters with a more efficient and state-of-the-art public transportation system. This would further position Massachusetts as a leader in energy efficiency and establish the MBTA as a trailblazer in public safety and infrastructure.
It is clear that the MBTA and our state leaders are taking important steps to ensure we are better prepared for this year’s winter. But, we should also not lose sight of long-term goals that will contribute to a more sustainable and energy efficient future as we address current infrastructural needs.