BOSTON (CBS) – For Maryellen Hennessey, the everyday rush to catch a train can be tense. “You kill yourself on these floors,” she said. “When it rains or snows, you just slide.”
Her MBTA stop is Wollaston Station in Quincy, which just underwent a $36-million renovation. Passengers applauded when it re-opened in August, with upgrades that would finally make it accessible to the mobility impaired, while also preventing the flooding that occurred when heavy rain coincided with high tide in Quincy Bay. The day it reopened, MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said in a news conference, “It’s a great day for the MBTA.”
Then it rained again, and new water problems crept in. When the I-Team went to Wollaston station on a recent rainy day, the floors were slick and covered with mats. A spokesperson for the MBTA said the mats are a temporary solution. “Horrible,” said Hennessey. “That’s why I stay up there and wait and pray I don’t fall. I’m 72-and-a-half. I can’t afford to fall.”
According to the MBTA, a “single leak from the roof was identified and repaired. Another matter altogether is water condensation, droplets of water, that form on cold surfaces of walls and ceilings of the lower lobby and drop on the floor.”
WBZ found a work crew buffing the floor. A project manager said they were preparing to remove the shiny sealant in hopes of improving the grip. The T later confirmed that the “terrazzo floors did not meet spec in regards to providing a slip coefficient…the contractor is currently grinding the floor to give it better slip resistance.”
“It’s difficult. I think it’s something that would have been thought of, and some method tried before they reopened,” said passenger Timothy Zimmerman. The station was shut down for a year-and-a-half, while crews rebuilt it from the ground up. “It was difficult because I work only a few blocks from here, and it was the shuttle buses,” said commuter Michael Lavalle.
The I-Team obtained a copy of the work contract, which includes a five-year guarantee to fix defects with “no dollar or area limit.” Passengers just hope they don’t get hurt before the T finds a fix that works. “Typical MBTA, you know, typical,” said Lavalle. “They spend millions and millions of dollars.”
The T has not made the final payment on the project, and doesn’t plan to until this summer. Before that happens, a spokesperson says an independent testing company will make sure it’s up to standard in all kinds of weather.