BEVERLY — The city has received a $1.75 million state grant to improve the intersection of Tozer and Sohier roads, the state announced Thursday.

The money is part of the state's MassWorks program that funds infrastructure projects that are intended to create new housing units and jobs. In Beverly's case, the grant is tied to a major affordable housing development, called Anchor Point, that will be built on vacant land at the corner of Tozer and Sohier roads.

"We're obviously really excited," Mayor Mike Cahill said about the grant, one of 36 from the MassWorks program announced by Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito. "This is a project that will square up that intersection and make it safer."

The work will include adding a left-turn lane on Sohier Road for motorists turning left onto Tozer Road; a raised island; and new sidewalks, signs and drainage improvements.

Cahill said the improvements will help connect kids from the Northridge Homes and Hilltop Drive housing developments, as well as the new Anchor Point complex, to the high school and middle school.

"It'll become safer for vehicles and especially for pedestrians and bikers," he said. The work is scheduled to start in the spring of 2021.

The Anchor Point development will include 77 apartments for families, with 15 units reserved for homeless families. The complex will consist of two residential buildings and a "community" building for after-school programs, adult education, and recreation.

Anchor Point is a project of Harborlight Community Partners, a Beverly-based affordable housing agency. Executive Director Andrew DeFranza said the intersection improvements will "dramatically improve" pedestrian safety in the area.

"Harborlight Community Partners is so grateful to the state MassWorks program and Mayor Cahill and everyone in the planning department for their hard work in supporting this investment in Beverly," he said.

DeFranza said Anchor Point will be built in two phases, with 39 units scheduled to be built in the spring. Harborlight is raising money through donations for the community center, and the second phase of 38 units is likely a few years away, he said.

The MassWork funding announced Thursday totaled $68 million for 36 projects in 35 cities and towns. Baker said the money will help create 3,500 new housing units and 3,900 new jobs.

Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2535, by email at pleighton@salemnews.com, or on Twitter at @heardinbeverly.

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