The Encore Boston Harbor team has filed with state environmental regulators (known as MEPA) in order to begin permitting of the $32 million pedestrian/cycle bridge over the Mystic River – a bridge that is a key connection to Boston for bike paths stretching all the way to Lynn and the North Shore.
The project includes the construction of a 12-foot wide pedestrian and bicycle bridge over the Lower Mystic River, with the goal of connecting the Everett and Somerville communities – as well as connecting the Encore casino directly to the Orange Line station at Assembly Row.
“If successful in procuring the permits and approvals necessary to construct the project, the proponent, in coordination with the DCR, plan to initiate construction in early 2020 and complete the project within 18 months,” read the letter to MEPA.
Other nearby projects that are also anticipated to go in tandem with the bridge include the construction of a pedestrian connection to the Orange Line, completion of recreational/pedestrian components of Draw 7 Park in Somerville, and a pedestrian/bicycle path on the MBTA Charlestown bus yard shoreline stabilization project.
“The recently completed Encore Boston Harbor HarborWalk, and the planned connection to the DCR Gateway Park will provide critical links at the two landing points of the bridge,” read the letter.
The project, while under the jurisdiction of DCR, would be paid for mostly by Encore Boston Harbor – which also paid for a good amount of the design of the bridge.
Encore has not said how much exactly they will pay on the bridge project but have indicated several times that it is a very significant amount of the total cost.
The bridge is expected to connect Charlestown, Everett and Somerville in a way that – to date – they have never been connected before.
“Existing pedestrian connectivity is limited and circuitous in the Lower Mystic region,” read the letter. “The only existing pedestrian connection across the Mystic River in the area is on Alford Street Bridge, which spans from Sullivan Square in (Charlestown) to Lower Broadway in Everett. Currently, an individual at Assembly Station is required to walk more than 1.4 miles, approximately 35 minutes, to access the Lower Broadway business district via the Alford Street Bridge. This is the shortest existing pedestrian route between these two places. Given the lack of pedestrian connectivity in the Lower Mystic are, few people make this trip by foot today.”
The bridge is planned to be built in one phase, but it will require a great deal of environmental scrutiny due to it going over the River and utilizing new pillars into the riverbed.