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Press Release

Press Release Baker-Polito Administration Advances Mystic River Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge Project

For immediate release:
  • Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs

Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Advances Mystic River Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge Project

Craig Gilvarg, Director of Communications

EVERETTGovernor Charlie Baker today announced that the Baker-Polito Administration has committed to completing the design, permitting and construction of the Mystic River Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge. The bridge project, once constructed, will provide a connection from Draw Seven Park near the MBTA Assembly Station in the City of Somerville to the City of Everett next to the Encore Boston Harbor Resort, enhancing mobility and access for residents while linking communities within the Northern Strand and Mystic River trail network. The announcement was made by Governor Baker, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides, Transportation Secretary Jamey Tesler, Gaming Commission Chair Cathy Judd Stein, and state and local officials in the Cities of Everett and Somerville.

“This long-awaited project will provide the residents of Everett, Somerville and surrounding communities with a safe and convenient way to walk or bike across the Mystic River,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Once built, the Mystic River bridge will re-connect these communities, enhance access to transportation and local businesses and link the long-distance trail network on the North Shore, delivering significant benefits to the entire region.” 

“The Mystic River bridge is an important connector to get bicyclists and pedestrians across the river,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “We’re pleased to move forward with this project and are grateful for the local community groups, and the cities of Everett and Somerville, for their advocacy in support of this needed infrastructure.”

In 2009, the Department of Conservation and Recreation completed a feasibility study which found that a new bridge was the best option for a connection across the Mystic River due to its ability to provide a direct, safe route that would increase mobility, provide pedestrians and bicyclists access to transit and local businesses, and reconnect communities divided by highways, high speed roads, and water.  State officials estimate that approximately 2,300 pedestrians and more than 350 bicyclists will utilize the bridge on a daily basis. Formally proposed as a result of the study, the bridge will be approximately 12 feet wide, 785 feet long, and 35 feet high at the top of the structure, and will include lighting, signage, and benches along its entire length.

“By making sure this bridge gets built, the Baker-Polito Administration is delivering a mobility solution that prioritizes equity, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and enhances access to local businesses and services for residents in these Environmental Justice communities,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “The Mystic River bridge will provide a critical link for residents that makes public transit and recreational trails easier to access, building on the Administration’s investments in long-distance trail networks like the Northern Strand."

“The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is pleased to be part of efforts to construct a pedestrian and bicycle bridge over the Mystic River which will increase the options for traveling between Everett and Somerville,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Jamey Tesler. “Construction of this bridge supports the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to providing a safe and equitable transportation network to advance the Commonwealth’s transit, economic, climate and public health goals.”

Once completed, the bridge will also allow the Northern Strand shared use path, which travels from Lynn to the Mystic River, to realize its full potential. The 11.5 mile Northern Strand project, which the Baker-Polito Administration supported through a $15 million investment, provides a transportation and recreation corridor that connects the communities of Everett, Malden, Revere, Saugus, and Lynn. The bridge between Somerville and Everett will connect the Northern Strand to the Mystic River and Malden River trail networks, and deliver an equitable mobility solution to residents of surrounding communities. Four of the five communities along the Northern Strand are Gateway Cities, and all the communities, as well as Somerville, are Environmental Justice communities. Of the 111,000 people that live within one half mile of the Northern Strand, 96,000, or 86%, meet at least one Environmental Justice Criteria.

The announcement to advance and complete the project follows a commitment from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission in October 2021 to provide $650,000 to finish the design and permitting phase of the project. This phase of the project is expected to be completed in Summer 2022, with construction projected to begin in 2024 or sooner pending the permitting process. To pay for the approximately $35 million construction cost, the Administration will pursue opportunities for federal grant funding and is exploring several additional options to finance the project. Once completed, the bridge will be under the care and custody of DCR, which will maintain the structure and provide services such as snow and ice removal.

“On behalf of my fellow commissioners, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is delighted to contribute to this exciting initiative through the MGC Community Mitigation Fund,” said Cathy Judd-Stein, Chair of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. “As envisioned by the Legislature and established under the Expanded Gaming Act, the Community Mitigation Fund provides support to communities and governmental entities in offsetting impacts related to casino gaming. The pedestrian and bicycle bridge will connect Encore Boston Harbor’s host community Everett to Somerville, enhancing economic opportunities, and link the T to a new and extensive network of bike paths, offering critical transportation alternatives to casino patrons and employees and Massachusetts residents.”

“Providing our residents and visitors with unique opportunities to get outdoors and live healthy active lifestyles is more important now than ever before,” said Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Jim Montgomery. “Creating critical trail connections by building the Mystic River Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge is yet another example of the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to improving our trail system and forging community bonds.”

“This project provides a new, direct, safe, and comfortable connection for bicyclists and pedestrians traveling across the Mystic River between Everett and Assembly Station in Somerville,” said Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria. “The bridge stitches the growing 25-mile network Mystic River trail system and regional pedestrian and bicycle routes.  It will provide Everett residents direct access to the rapid MBTA station at Assembly Row, in turn, providing access to jobs and other key destinations without a car or multiple transit transfers. Thank you to the Baker Polito Administration as well as the Mass. Gaming Commission. When government works cohesively, we can and will accomplish the unthinkable.

"The Mystic River Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge will be an important link in a larger network of regional pathways on both sides of the Mystic River,” said Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone. “Connecting the communities in the Mystic River basin is a step forward for transportation equity and for making sustainable, environmentally friendly transit options more accessible to residents in our region. I look forward to this project moving forward and opening up a new connection between Somerville and Everett."

The Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to build the project follows significant stakeholder engagement, including input and strong support for the project from local officials, legislators, community groups, and environmental and mobility advocacy groups. Public meetings were held in both Everett and Somerville in addition to six large stakeholder meetings focused on various aspects of the project. Additionally, the Administration held other public hearings associated with project permitting in each community.


Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Advances Mystic River Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge Project

Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs 

EEA seeks to protect, preserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s environmental resources while ensuring a clean energy future for the state’s residents. Through the stewardship of open space, protection of environmental resources, and enhancement of clean energy, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs works tirelessly to make Massachusetts a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family.