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Boston-Quincy Row Over Bridge Heats Up

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

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Boston and Quincy are once again arguing due to a sore spot related to the proposed Long Island Bridge: Quincy's City Council voted to ban commercial vehicles from the proposed construction site of a long-term drug addiction recovery center on Long Island.

Quincy City Councilman William Harris noted that he didn’t agree with Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s proposal to build a drug treatment facility out on Long Island. Before that can even happen, however, the question of the Long Island Bridge must be addressed.

The Original Bridge

The old Long Island Bridge was opened in 1951 to provide road access to the hospital. The island more recently held a substance-abuse treatment facility and a homeless shelter, but the bridge connecting it to Moon Island was shut down in 2014 due to structural concerns, and was demolished the following year. The shelter and treatment center were shuttered because the island could only be reached by boat.

Office of Mayor Martin J. Walsh

In early May, Walsh proposed floating parts of the new span into the harbor on barges to avoid increased traffic in Quincy.

Walsh expressed interest in rebuilding the bridge since its closure, and earlier this year he unveiled a plan to fund the construction project, but was met with opposition, largely from Quincy, where traffic related to the construction—and related to the island’s facilities if they reopen after the bridge is built—would pass through. Walsh committed $50 million in his 2018 budget to the project.

Walsh has stressed that the bridge is an important link that would enable the city to reopen the drug-treatment facility at a time when the opioid addiction crisis is claiming lives at an unprecedented rate.

The City of Boston filed a notice of intent with the Boston Conservation Commission May 2, a step toward the realization of the project. Walsh’s office said in a statement that construction on the bridge could start as early as next year.

In early May, Walsh proposed floating parts of the new span into the harbor on barges to avoid increased traffic in Quincy.

Point of Conflict

In the most recent development, Quincy City Council enacted a law banning construction vehicles from driving on roads leading to Moon Island, the location where the proposed bridge would span across the harbor.

Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch has pledged to support whatever course of action the city council takes, noting that Quincy should have a say in rebuilding the bridge. In April, Koch spokesperson Chris Walker noted that the construction vehicle ban proposal was intended to preserve public safety in the neighborhood.

“This goes a little beyond that, it addresses the nature of [the intersection at issue] and provides some safety mechanism for that neighborhood,” Walker said. “The mayor and city councilor are proposing this as an effort to protect public safety in that neighborhood … it’s just not equipped really to handle any additional heavy traffic through that area.”

An alternative to the bridge is a ferry system, noted Harris. "A ferry system would be the ideal situation. It's environmentally and economically responsible.”

   

Tagged categories: Bridges; Construction; Government; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Program/Project Management

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