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MBTA to close Columbia Road concourse at JFK/UMass for ‘at least one month’ due to structural issue

The JFK/UMASS station.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

The MBTA has closed the concourse at the Columbia Road entrance to JFK/UMass station for “at least a month” after inspectors “identified a critical structural issue” over the weekend, officials said Tuesday.

The T is directing riders to access the station through the busway ramp if possible, and beginning Tuesday, the T is providing accessible van service on request to transport passengers between Columbia Road and the busway, the T said in a series of Twitter posts.

MBTA engineers are developing plans to renovate the concourse and expect it to remain closed for at least a month, T officials said.

“We’ll continue inspections & notify riders if any other repairs are needed,” the MBTA said. “We remain committed to prioritizing the safety of our riders, service & infrastructure.”

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The closure marks the latest safety concern for the beleaguered transit agency, which saw an Orange Line train catch fire last summer and a Red Line train drag a man to his death in the spring.

In late August, the Federal Transit Administration released a scathing report that found the MBTA has prioritized long-term projects over day-to-day operations and safety. The agency ordered the transit system to hire more staff, improve communication with front-line workers, and bolster safety checks, among dozens of required actions.

The Columbia Road concourse is part of the same station where a Boston University public health professor was killed last year when he fell from a dilapidated state-owned staircase.

The family of David Jones filed a lawsuit last week against the MBTA and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, alleging that the negligence of state officials led directly to Jones’s death. Representatives for both agencies said last week that they do not comment on pending litigation.

The rusted staircase, which sat several yards from the concourse, was torn down a short time after Jones’s death.

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Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.