NEW BEDFORD — A story that came out Tuesday afternoon claiming that the MBTA is halting work on the city's South Coast Rail branch is patently false, according to officials.

First posted publicly to social media by someone named Ed Couto, the story was later reposted in another New Bedford media outlet.

City Councilor Ian Abreu posted a comment debunking the story on the outlet's Facebook page, writing "this is a fake story created by someone with no knowledge of the situation."

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He went on to state that South Coast Rail project manager Jean Fox told him that "it's absolutely not true and they’re preparing an official statement as we speak debunking this story."

Fox told WBSM News in a statement that the story is "inaccurate."

"Crews are working at New Bedford Station and at Church Street," she wrote.

"They want to be out of the Sea Streak Lot in advance of Memorial Day ferry service and are working diligently toward that goal," Fox added.

"Freight traffic, now running nights, will continue tonight and tomorrow as well."

City Councilor Maria Giesta told WBSM that state reps Chris Markey and Chris Hendricks both believe the story to be false as well.

In fact, an image included in the original post has the words "Fake News" written in the corner.

Original Fake News post
Ed Couto via Facebook

The story had claimed that work on the New Bedford branch of the new commuter rail line — but not the Fall River branch — would shut down immediately.

A purported quote from MBTA director Phillip Eng about New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell in the fake story appeared to hint at a recent controversy in which city officials drafted a lawsuit against the transit agency.

"I'm just glad it's not true," Giesta said of the rumor.

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