The City of Boston is hoping to convey that rebuilding a bridge to Long Island is the best option for accessing and reopening a recovery campus for addicts during a meeting on Tuesday, May 7, in Quincy.
The public meeting, being held at the Kennedy Center facility for the Quincy Council on Aging at 7 p.m., will explain why the city should be granted a Chapter 91 permit from the Department of Environmental Protection despite anticipated pushback from Quincy Mayor Tom Koch.
Koch and his administration have been vehemently against rebuilding the bridge that was closed in 2014 and suggest that a ferry would be a better option to explore.
In a meeting with members of the press, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh’s team and consultants ran through a series of reasons why a ferry would be a less feasible option and would likely delay the reopening of the recovery campus.
Following the meeting Chris Osgood, Chief of Streets for City of Boston, said appeals for licenses filed in 2018 are already impacting the project’s timeline.
“There maybe an appeal, so far there have been appeals with some of the permits we’ve received already, for example we received the MEPA certificate last year and that was appealed by Quincy,” Osgood said. “Obviously some of those appeals are having an impact on our overall project timeline which does mean it’s going to take us longer to build the bridge which means it’s going to take us longer to reopen a recovery campus which we think is an important part of responding to the opioid crisis.”
According to a consultant from STV Incorporated, the agency hired by the city to analyze the bridge, reopening the bridge would cost approximately $150 million and would have less of an environmental impact than operating a ferry, which it estimates would cost $330 million.
The timeline would also be shorter, the consultant argued, taking approximately four years to reopen the bridge opposed to the six to eight years it would take to accommodate ferry service.
One of the principle arguments against a ferry is safety and access emergency services would have to the island.
According to the firm hired by the city recovery programs on the island would be less likely to receive permits if fire trucks, EMS and ambulances had to use a ferry to access the island rather than a bridge.
The Boston Fire Department also agreed that it cannot guarantee property safety without road access to the island, according to a city official.
The mayor’s team said it is likely that the City of Quincy would file an appeal to the Chapter 91 permit following the May 7 hearing in Quincy.
Osgood said that the city already anticipates that it will have to pay a cost of roughly $95 million to delay the project as it fights these appeals, which will be included in the construct cost once the project is allowed to go out to bid.