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JFK/UMass falling apart, and that's why the T shut the Columbia Road entrance

The Dorchester Reporter gets the scoop: Inspectors found a critical structural problem along Columbia Road that required the entrance to be shut over the weekend - along with "additional structural issues" that led to the concourse over the Braintree tracks to be shut - for possibly the next four to five weeks.

The Savin Hill T stop also has some issues, the Reporter adds.


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You aren't an engineer.

I'm not one now, but I was a metallurgical engineer for several years and I can explain it all in one word: salt

These are reinforced concrete structures in an area where road salt is used for deicing and sea salt spray is also present. Salt migrates through the concrete and rots the steel underneath. The steel expands as it corrodes and then breaks the concrete.

Bonus points if the structures were underengineered for this environment, and not properly waterproofed or maintained.


But they presumably knew about salt in 2005. They should know how to design a bridge in a road salt environment so it won't be too decrepit to carry pedestrians after only 17 years.


That doesn't mean they did what they should have.

Or that they didn't cut corners to make an impossible budget.

Or that it was maintained properly.


Who doesn’t know this?

Like…anyone who knows anything about construction knows this.

I’ve known this since middle school and I’m no engineer.
the question stands WHY- in 2005, after the problems at UMASS Boston had been understood - would you use reinforced concrete- probably exposed rebar somewhere.


Every T station I have seen in the winter is covered in a thick layer of salt in the winter. Even for the slightest storm, they pour on the salt. Complete overkill. They should just shovel the platforms and use salt selectively or even better use an alternative that does not corrode the concrete and underlying rebar.


They salt like crazy because the slightest instance of ice is a law suit waiting to happen, and people who are careless and may slip on ice are quick to sue the alleged deep pockets of the T.

So they salt like crazy to demonstrate that they performed a due diligence to address snow and ice.

It has nothing to do with melting snow or making passage safer but more for law suits of those that will try to blame their own problematic footing on others.

No one likes it by the way but it is a sad reality.

I am often amused by those in social media that say to leave all of the fallen leaves in place at this time of year because that shelters important small species (yes... that's a thing), and then the Karen next door has 311 on speed dial because your yard doesn't look like a staged image out of House and Garden Magazine. The fact that you live downtown in a concrete jungle is immaterial.

Clearly these people never get together for coffee.

So, too much salt on the MBTA? Sure, but let's face it, Divine Providence put that snow there for a purpose and shoveling it and salting it is blasphemy.

Everyone loses these days.

Sometimes there's so much salt that it becomes a slip hazard itself.

The Garage still hasn't been reopened. JFK station looks like a broken erector toy set that is falling apart. It will take years not weeks to repair the structural problems.


It's gone.

A dirty little secret of the hell winter of 2015 was that the T was really, really scared Quincy Center station was going to collapse under the weight of snow.


Its garage. That's because it was demolished as part of the Wollaston Station Improvements project back in 2017-2019.


Has me daydreaming of Harvard Square in the old days


Did the Harvard Square Garage mall close yet?

… is a mess. Crumbling concrete, ubiquitous rusting & water damage … Bandaid type fix- ups aren’t going to cut it. The whole station needs to be redone


Colombia Road? Is that near Bogota Blvd?


I've driven on and written about it enough times you'd think I could get it right. Fixed.


Let's stop pretending.


Open up the exit gates on Columbia Road which are adjacent to the closed entrance. The T doesn't enforce fare evasion so it shouldn't be a problem. By the end of today some kid will figure out a simple solution to keeping the exit gates open for the public to enter.

This would have me walking to Andrew Sq.

Was it the Dorchester side, the Southie Side, or the Columbia Point side? @ cinnamngrl. I used to hang in the tallest tower at Columbia Point and went to BC High.

Dorchester side