Boston is closing in on the last permitting hurdles for rebuilding the Long Island Bridge, Mayor Michelle Wu said in a television interview Sunday, even as logistical details remain vague and she continued to float the alternative of ferry service.
“We’re rounding the bend, I think, on the last set of permits for the ability to create that bridge and reactivate transportation to the island,” Wu said Sunday on WCVB-TV’s “On The Record.”
The city has been trying to rebuild the bridge from Quincy’s Moon Island to Boston’s Long Island in the harbor since 2018, with an eye on reopening a large drug-treatment campus there. The bridge closed in 2014 over structural concerns and then was dismantled, leaving only pylons.
Some politicians and advocates see rehabbing the old hospital and shelter space on Long Island as a solution for some of the drug use and dealing problems that plague the troubled South End Mass. and Cass area.
Wu’s position since she became mayor has been to secure permits to rebuild the bridge, but that is more of a long-term solution.
“This would be the ideal location for a regional recovery campus if we can get this to happen,” Wu said in the WCVB-TV interview.
That’s been a sizable “if” for the past half decade, though, as Boston and Quincy have clashed in lawsuits and permitting battles
A study commissioned under former Boston mayor Martin J. Walsh estimated the cost of creating a recovery campus on the island at $200 million to more than $540 million — not including the bridge, which is potentially north of $80 million.
Wu acknowledged the bridge would have a “hefty price tag,” but did not say how much when asked.
Then Wu mentioned the word each of the previous two administrations have brought up and shot down: ferries.
“There should continue to be conversations about whether a ferry could help ... ,” Wu said, noting that would require dock construction and partnership with Quincy.
A new bridge or a ferry system would be a major infrastructure project that would take “multiple years no matter how accelerated a timeline is.”
A spokesperson for Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch told the Globe on Sunday that the city “respectfully” doesn’t believe permitting for construction of a new bridge is as close as Wu characterized it, but the administration is “happy to have a conversation about ferry service.”
The Wu administration had several successes in court battles over the bridge and had expected to be filing permits by the end of last year, but she declined to comment Sunday on what the timeline is now.
Wu said she’s met with “a number of leaders in the state” on Mass. and Cass, where people from around Massachusetts congregate to use, buy and sell drugs on the streets near several shelters, recovery sites, and the Suffolk County House of Correction.
Of Governor Maura Healey and Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll, Wu said “I’ve sat down with them personally.”
Issues at Mass. and Cass intensified following the 2014 closure of the bridge and the treatment space on Long Island, and the subsequent opening of a city-run shelter on Southampton Street.
Wu was also asked about crime as the city heads into summer, when street violence typically increases.
The mayor said it’s not only up to police. It’s important to focus on creating “strong communities,” she said, giving people in high-crime areas better access to services.
“Boston police plays an important role, but just a small role, in that,” she said, though she also described the department as an “important” part of combating violence.
“We’re really going to have a very targeted approach,” she said.
Sean Cotter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.Follow him on Twitter @cotterreporter.