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Closure Of Boston's Long Island Bridge Cuts Access To Shelter

Boston Harbor's Long Island Bridge was closed Wednesday, cutting off access for hundreds of homeless individuals seeking shelter on the island.

Mayor Marty Walsh announced that the bridge was shut down as a precautionary measure in order to fix the bridge's long-lasting structural concerns. He could not specify when the bridge will be reopened, only that it would remain closed for "an extended period of time."

According to Walsh spokeswoman Kate Norton, the decision was not a result of any incident, injury or bridge collapse.

On average the island's city-run shelter houses nearly 440 disadvantaged individuals a night, as well as provides services for up to 300 people.

Due to the bridge closure between 220 and 250 homeless individuals staying on the island were relocated to the South End Fitness Center and Carter Auditorium on Northampton Street, which will be staffed by city employees, Norton said in a written statement.

Currently the city is reaching out to various nonprofits in the Greater Boston area to help fill the need for additional beds and various health services normally provided on the island.

Approximately 150 people work on the island daily.

City and transportation officials are scheduled to meet this week to discuss the bridge renovation but as of Thursday Norton said they are still in the preliminary planning phase.

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