Citizens Group Seeking Relief from Freight Traffic in Woods Hole

WOODS HOLE – A group of citizens who would like to eliminate freight traffic through Falmouth and Woods Hole is working to find a regional transportation solution.

Southeast Massachusetts Regional Transportation, or SMART, Task Force is seeking to make New Bedford the port for freight traffic to and from the islands.

The group is meeting with several local officials, the Canal bridge study group, the Steamship Authority and New Bedford Harbor to compile data and look at transportation problems on a regional level.

“We’re trying to address this issue of regional transportation, specifically diverting traffic north of the bridges,” said William Hallstein, a SMART member.

“The infrastructure from the bridges south needs relief.”

Many residents have had issues in recent years with the increased freight traffic, noise and road congestion issues. They feel the problems could be intensified as the Steamship Authority has begun its Woods Hole terminal reconstruction project.

“We need to develop a second port which can handle, especially, freight,” Hallstein said.

Hallstein said the group has spoken with many trucking firms who have shown interest in getting to the islands through New Bedford.

“One of their interests is to operate from a less constricted platform and on a clock that meets their needs,” Hallstein said.

Fuel truckers from Provincetown also indicate that they would prefer to stop in New Bedford as well.

“They say they would love to stop in New Bedford and that the trip from New Bedford to Woods Hole is expensive and hard on trucks,” he said.

Hallstein said many officials in local communities and other transportation stakeholders operate in an isolated fashion, but that discussion should be made on a more regional level.

The aging Bourne and Sagamore bridges could also cause problems getting freight to the ferry terminals in the future.

“It makes sense from our point of view to have a capacity to be flexible and quickly operate out of New Bedford,” Hallstein said. “It could be that in a disaster New Bedford would be the only way to supply the Islands.”

The Steamship Authority is looking into the possibility of moving freight through New Bedford. A viable location is still being sought as the state pier would require millions of dollars of repairs before it could handle the truck traffic.

Hallstein says SMART will continue to work with all parties involved, including local legislators.

Residents can keep up with the organization and learn how to get involved at smartcitizenstaskforce.org.

About CapeCod.com NewsCenter

The award-winning CapeCod.com NewsCenter provides the Cape Cod community with a constant, credible source for local, regional, and national news. We are on the job seven days a week. You can also hear the CapeCod.com NewsCenter by tuning into Ocean 104.7 FM.