Falmouth State Rep. Says Army Corps Likely to Recommend Bridge Replacement

MASHPEE – A local legislator recently told Mashpee selectmen that the Army Corps of Engineers is expected to recommend the replacement of both the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges.

Third Barnstable District State Representative David Vieira (R-Falmouth) said a draft report of an Army Corps study of the spans is expected soon.

“All intents and all direction right now looks like it will call for the replacement of both bridges as an obligation of the federal government to meet current to meet current highway standards,” Vieira said.

The Army Corps is conducting a multiyear Major Rehabilitation Evaluation study of the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges to determine whether major rehabilitation or replacement of either or both bridges will provide the most reliable, fiscally responsible solution for the future.

The existing bridges were constructed over eight decades ago and require increasingly more frequent maintenance, which is costly and causes significant impact to traffic crossing the Cape Cod Canal.

A maintenance project on the Bourne Bridge is scheduled to begin on Monday.

The work will restrict traffic to one lane in each direction 24 hours per day and is expected to last up to Memorial Day Weekend.

Work will include the replacement of bridge joints on the roadway, repair of deteriorated steel and concrete and the patching of damaged pavement surfaces.

Crews will also replace waterproof membranes and perform maintenance work on the bridge lighting and drainage systems.

The work on the Bourne was postponed from last fall to this spring after an outcry from local business and tourism officials.

They asked for the delay after the Sagamore was reduced to one lane in the spring of 2018 and wanted to avoid both shoulder tourism seasons in one year being impacted by bridge repairs work.

The bridge study will result in a Major Rehabilitation Evaluation Report (MRER) evaluating the risk and reliability of the structures as well as the economic impacts/benefits of a number of alternatives including continuation of routine maintenance, major rehabilitation, and bridge replacement.

The MRER is comprised of four elements: structural engineering analysis of the bridges; cost estimates for rehabilitation and/or replacement alternatives; economic benefits of the alternatives; and environmental effects of the alternatives.

The Army Corps and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation have held several public meetings in recent months to gather input from the public.

Public comments can be still be submitted online at www.CapeCodCanalBridgesStudy.com.

Vieira also said that MassDOT will help with infrastructure needs, along with providing updates to the media and public.

“The MassDOT has a legal obligation and has taken an additional obligation under Secretary Stephanie Pollack to help coordinate all of what is happening up to the bridges,” he said.

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