Bourne Bridge Maintenance Work Delayed Until Spring

Lane closures backing up traffic over the Sagamore Bridge in April during maintenance work. The Bourne Bridge maintenance has been pushed back until spring 2019.

BOURNE – Planned fall maintenance work for the Bourne Bridge has been pushed back until next spring.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation announced the decision today, along with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to continue conversations and the sharing of information regarding the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges, including scheduled maintenance and future project development.

The maintenance project – similar to the work conducted on the Sagamore Bridge in the spring, which caused lane closures and traffic headaches – was pushed to lessen travel impacts during the fall tourist season.

“This decision benefits visitors, residents and members of the business community who need the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges both open when so many people need to use them,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack.

Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver said MassDOT is pleased to support the efforts by the Army Corps during the necessary maintenance work over both the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges.

“These bridges are essential to the economic livelihood and quality of life for the Commonwealth’s residents, business leaders and visitors and MassDOT is grateful for the opportunity to formalize an agreement in which we will have regular, ongoing conversations and information-sharing about maintenance, nearby transportation infrastructure needs and how best to plan for future Cape Cod Canal crossings,” Gulliver said.

Army Corps Spokesman Tim Dugan said they have been collaborating with MassDOT on ways to reduce traffic impacts.

“We work with them and we were negotiating with our contractor to push the work back until the spring of 2019 rather than have two construction periods during the same year and causing a lot of traffic headaches on the Cape Cod Canal,” Dugan said.

Dugan said the Corps did receive a lot requests from people on Cape Cod to push the work back, including businesses which complained of lost revenue during the month-plus of traffic delays.

“I think a lot of people will be happy to hear that news so that people can enjoy the fall,” Dugan said. “We appreciate their understanding during the times that we do need to repair the bridges.”

If any maintenance work is required on the Bourne Bridge throughout the rest of 2018 it will only be conducted during off-peak hours, according to MassDOT. 

Under the Cape Cod Canal Federal Navigation Project, the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges are owned by the Army Corps which has the responsibility to operate and maintain them. It is also MassDOT’s responsibility to operate and maintain the state highway system, including the highways and infrastructure approaching these bridges.

Under the MOU, which was signed on June 27, the USACE and MassDOT agree to engage in a collaborative approach to discuss and exchange information concerning a coordinated public process for future projects, including public outreach, environmental permitting, identification of financing and funding sources, evaluation of project delivery methods, and ongoing repair and maintenance.

“The New England District is continuing our close collaboration with Mass DOT as we work together on the long term plan for the Cape Cod Canal bridges,” said Col. William Conde, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District.

The new timeline for maintenance is in keeping with the MOU which states that the Army Corps and MassDOT will “coordinate their respective designs, project schedules, maintenance/construction activities, and traffic management to enhance efficiency and minimize impacts to the traveling public to the maximum extent possible.”

Both agencies also agree to share information and work cooperatively during construction projects, particularly when activities are scheduled to be performed concurrently, and agree to make the best effort possible to coordinate and minimize impacts to the traveling public, including identifying efficiencies and cost savings related to traffic setups, lane closures, access restraints, police details, labor, equipment and materials.

Work to install joints and repair damaged concrete along the sidewalks of the Sagamore Bridge was completed throughout April and early May.

The project required the 24/7 closure of one lane on each side of the bridge, causing significant traffic problems on a daily basis.

The work which was expected to last until just before Memorial Day weekend was completed three weeks early.

Bourne Bridge work was originally scheduled to begin just after Labor Day and last for about 80 days.

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