Baker commits to bridge linking Assembly Sq. and Encore casino

Source of $35m for project over Mystic River still not clear

THE BAKER ADMINISTRATION committed on Friday to build a bicycle and pedestrian bridge crossing the Mystic River and connecting Assembly Station on the Orange Line in Somerville to the grounds of the Encore Boston Harbor casino in Everett.

The new bridge will connect the two municipalities and link a number of regional bike paths. It will also incorporate the casino into the entertainment offerings of Assembly Square and allow casino patrons to ride public transit to within a fairly short walk of the facility. Currently, the closest subway stop is Sullivan on the Orange Line.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is providing $650,000 to finish the design and permitting of the project and the Baker administration pledged to pay the $35 million construction cost, which includes a new access point to Assembly Station. The source of the state’s funds is not clear yet, but Gov. Charlie Baker said his administration would pursue federal grant funding.

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Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

The bridge will be maintained by the Department of Conservation and Recreation once it is finished. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2024.

The bridge, as currently designed, would be 12 feet wide, 785 feet long, and 35 feet high at its highest point. State officials estimate that approximately 2,300 pedestrians and more than 350 bicyclists will utilize the bridge on a daily basis.

The 11.5 mile Northern Strand shared use path, which runs from Lynn to the Mystic River and passes through parts of Saugus, Revere, Malden, and Everett, will now be able to connect to the Mystic river and Malden River trail networks.