By Mike Hellgren

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Almost half of the Baltimore area’s Metro subway system will be closed for weeks after a routine inspection of the elevated portion of the tracks revealed emergency repairs were needed.

“We very much realize the inconvenience this causes. The fact is that safety is absolutely number one. The last thing that we’re going to do is put any of our riders at risk, and we’re going to continue to prioritize safety,” said Maryland Transit Administration Administrator Kevin Quinn.

The major problems involve the elevated tracks from Owings Mills to West Cold Spring Lane that need to be repaired. Extra buses will operate in place of the trains.

 
Michael Effinger said it was a huge inconvenience on his way to his job as a chef.

“Not having public transportation is a hardship in a big city like Baltimore,” Effinger told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren. “We’re all running around pretty much clueless right now.”

“It’s bad. They’ve got us waiting on the bus. They don’t even care,” said Michael Craig as he waited in line at the Mondawmin transit hub in West Baltimore. “We don’t know anything about what’s going on. It’s crazy.”

David McClure, who is president of the Amalgamated Transit Union, says he’s been sounding the alarm about everything from crumbling tracks to rodent problems.

“It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone else. We’ve been discussing this for years,” he told Hellgren.

[Reporter: Is the system safe right now?]

“No, it is not,” McClure said.

When asked about the biggest problem, McClure told Hellgren “the tracks.”

“We’ve been talking about these issues for the past couple years now, and it’s been to no avail,” McClure said.

The union’s Bryant Hope said the repairs “should have happened a long time ago.”

“I’m glad it’s finally happening. I’m glad it’s happening without there having been fatalities because there could have been fatalities with the trains rolling down the tracks the way that they were up to this point,” Hope said.


 

The entire system will be shut down at least until Monday. The MTA is hoping to restore service to the underground portion near Johns Hopkins Hospital.

The railway runs from Owings Mills to Hopkins in East Baltimore. The first section opened in 1983.

Check out alternate routes and transportation options here.

WJZ’s George Solis and Mike Schuh contributed to this story.

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