Boston says it’s studying whether to rebuild Long Island Bridge

Mayor had vowed to rebuild but now says no decision has been made

A SPOKESWOMAN FOR Boston Mayor Marty Walsh issued a statement saying the city is doing a cost-benefit analysis on rebuilding the Long Island Bridge, which is a shift from the mayor’s earlier stance that the city would definitely rebuild the span.

Walsh’s statement came in the wake of a CommonWealth story reporting that the mayor appeared to have quietly shelved plans to rebuild the bridge, which allowed land access to homeless shelters and treatment and recovery services that had been housed on the city-owned island off of Quincy. For that story, the mayor’s spokeswoman said she had no updates on the bridge.

“The City of Boston is currently doing a cost-benefit analysis on rebuilding the Long Island Bridge,” according to an emailed statement Friday from Nicole Caravella, Walsh’s press secretary. “No decision has been made yet.”

When the state abruptly condemned the nearly 65-year-old, two-lane bridge in 2014 and forced a sudden evacuation of the people and programs on the island, Walsh was adamant that the city would put up a new bridge and move the programs back onto the site. He pegged the cost at $80 million and said the city would put up $35 million with the remainder coming from state and federal grants.

In 2015, the state only agreed to fund half the $9 million design costs but has only paid slightly more than $735,000 to the city. Massachusetts Department of Transportation officials told CommonWealth there was little likelihood of the state contributing funds for the project because of the stiff opposition from Quincy residents and officials, a decision that appears to have triggered Walsh’s reconsideration because it would have forced Boston to foot the entire bill.

Meet the Author

Jack Sullivan

Senior Investigative Reporter, CommonWealth

About Jack Sullivan

Jack Sullivan is a veteran of the Boston newspaper scene for nearly three decades. Prior to joining CommonWealth, he was editorial page editor of The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, a part of the GateHouse Media chain. Prior to that he was news editor at another GateHouse paper, The Enterprise of Brockton, and also was city edition editor at the Ledger. Jack was an investigative and enterprise reporter and executive city editor at the Boston Herald and a reporter at The Boston Globe.

He has reported stories such as the federal investigation into the Teamsters, the workings of the Yawkey Trust and sale of the Red Sox, organized crime, the church sex abuse scandal and the September 11 terrorist attacks. He has covered the State House, state and local politics, K-16 education, courts, crime, and general assignment.

Jack received the New England Press Association award for investigative reporting for a series on unused properties owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, and shared the association's award for business for his reporting on the sale of the Boston Red Sox. As the Ledger editorial page editor, he won second place in 2007 for editorial writing from the Inland Press Association, the nation's oldest national journalism association of nearly 900 newspapers as members.

At CommonWealth, Jack and editor Bruce Mohl won first place for In-Depth Reporting from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors for a look at special education funding in Massachusetts. The same organization also awarded first place to a unique collaboration between WFXT-TV (FOX25) and CommonWealth for a series of stories on the Boston Redevelopment Authority and city employees getting affordable housing units, written by Jack and Bruce.

A Boston native, Jack has lived in Massachusetts all his life. He was a major in English and history with a minor in political science at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. A father and grandfather, he lives in Plymouth with his wife, Susan.

About Jack Sullivan

Jack Sullivan is a veteran of the Boston newspaper scene for nearly three decades. Prior to joining CommonWealth, he was editorial page editor of The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, a part of the GateHouse Media chain. Prior to that he was news editor at another GateHouse paper, The Enterprise of Brockton, and also was city edition editor at the Ledger. Jack was an investigative and enterprise reporter and executive city editor at the Boston Herald and a reporter at The Boston Globe.

He has reported stories such as the federal investigation into the Teamsters, the workings of the Yawkey Trust and sale of the Red Sox, organized crime, the church sex abuse scandal and the September 11 terrorist attacks. He has covered the State House, state and local politics, K-16 education, courts, crime, and general assignment.

Jack received the New England Press Association award for investigative reporting for a series on unused properties owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, and shared the association's award for business for his reporting on the sale of the Boston Red Sox. As the Ledger editorial page editor, he won second place in 2007 for editorial writing from the Inland Press Association, the nation's oldest national journalism association of nearly 900 newspapers as members.

At CommonWealth, Jack and editor Bruce Mohl won first place for In-Depth Reporting from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors for a look at special education funding in Massachusetts. The same organization also awarded first place to a unique collaboration between WFXT-TV (FOX25) and CommonWealth for a series of stories on the Boston Redevelopment Authority and city employees getting affordable housing units, written by Jack and Bruce.

A Boston native, Jack has lived in Massachusetts all his life. He was a major in English and history with a minor in political science at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. A father and grandfather, he lives in Plymouth with his wife, Susan.

The bridge has been a sore spot between Boston and Quincy because to gain access to Long Island, cars, trucks, and buses had to drive through the streets of Quincy’s Squantum neighborhood, triggering opposition from residents.

The Walsh administration also doesn’t feel the pressure to relocate the programs back on the island. Walsh has stated all the beds and many of the programs have been absorbed on the mainland between public and private agencies.