MassDOT Working Group Leaning Toward Replacement of Canal Bridges

BUZZARDS BAY – A MassDOT working group presented recommendations for the Cape Cod Canal region last week in Buzzards Bay – which include replacing the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges.

The Cape Cod Canal Transportation Study Working Group also recommended several major road improvements throughout the canal region.

5th Barnstable State Rep Randy Hunt says the final decision on whether or not to replace the bridges will be made by the Army Corps of Engineers.

“The fact that the bridges had a lifespan of 50 years and now they are 85 years old, and because of the fact that they are the only ways to get on and off Cape Cod for automotive traffic, I’m pretty confident that we are going to have a report from them that says we should replace the bridges,” Hunt said.

The Army Corps is expected to release its own study by next spring which will include recommendations on replacing or renovating the spans.

A drop dead date of 2025 has been set by the Army Corps to make a final decision.

Hunt said the preferred plan recommended by the MassDOT working group for replacing the bridges would include about $400 million worth of other roadway improvement projects.

The improvements include redesigning Belmont Circle, a ramp from Scenic highway onto Route 25, new signal lights at the Bourne Bridge Rotary, A ramp from MacArthur Blvd northbound (Route 28) to Sandwich Road, moving Exit 1C on Route 6 westbound further back and adding an extra travel lane on Route 6 eastbound on the Cape.

Hunt expects the Army Corps will decide on replacement, but believes financing will be an issue.

“It’s a billion project to replace those two bridges and close to a half billion project to do all of the road access work that the state is going to be doing,” Hunt said.

“When we have the funding for it then I think we are going to make lots of progress, but that’s easier said than done.”

Hunt said there has been a lot of progress has been made over the last five years on discussions about what to do with the bridges.

“Today we know it’s likely that the bridges are going to be replaced and we have a plan for how the traffic is going to be rerouted in the general canal area,” he said.

The bridges are not A rated right now, but Hunt said the good news is that they are not in danger of falling down.

“We’ve seen that happen before obviously up in Minnesota so we don’t want to see that happen here,” he said. “Anytime that either one of these bridges has a lane closure it causes huge problems for us,” he said. “I believe that everybody is under the understanding that we need to move ahead as quickly as possible and that, unfortunately, has been frustrating and a bit of a hair puller over the last few years.”

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