It will cost $20.6 million to dismantle the deteriorated Long Island Bridge, Mayor Walsh’s office said this morning. The demolition project, which prefaces the construction of a new bridge, began today and is expected to continue until April 30. Walsh Construction Company, of Canton, won the bid to complete the project.
Officials evacuated the island’s inhabitants and closed the rusty link between Quincy and the largest harbor island on October 8, following years of concern about its structural integrity. Corroded metal, rusted plate connectors, and its questionable overall weight-bearing ability resulted in weight restrictions created in 1995 that remained in place until the closure.
The bridge is 63 years old and serves as the only entrance to the island, which has hosted a recovery center for addicts and Boston’s largest homeless shelter since 1983. The Long Island shelter was home to hundreds at the time of its closure. Those people have been redirected to other homes, and temporarily stayed at health centers like the South End Fitness Center until they could be placed. The Boston Public Health Commission’s website advises people looking for shelter to go to the Woods-Mullen Shelter on Mass. Ave.
Constructing a new bridge will cost an additional $80 million and take 2-3 years to complete. Officials also say a design period could take up to 12 months. The bridge has been rehabilitated at least seven times since 1990, costing more millions.