The New England District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) are announcing that scheduled maintenance on the Bourne Bridge over the Cape Cod Canal is being shifted to the spring season next year. In addition, the USACE and MassDOT are announcing the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to continue to facilitate ongoing conversations, a sharing of information and collaborative decision-making regarding the inspection of the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges, scheduled maintenance and future project development.
“We’re pleased to have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers so we can continue to have regular conversations to support the Army Corps’ plans for the Sagamore and Bourne Bridges,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “An example of the MOU is the announcement that the Corps will be shifting intensive maintenance work on the Bourne from the fall to the spring which will keep the Bourne fully open during the tourist season which continues into November. 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.”
“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.
“MassDOT has been pleased to support efforts by the USACE during necessary maintenance work on the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges,” said Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver. “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.”
The MOU, signed on June 27, acknowledges that under the Cape Cod Canal Federal Navigation Project, the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges are owned by the USACE which has the responsibility to operate and maintain them. And as it is MassDOT’s responsibility to operate and maintain the state highway system, including the highways and infrastructure approaching these bridges, 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 first example of collaboration under the MOU is the announcement of when scheduled comprehensive maintenance will be done on the Bourne Bridge. Instead of proceeding as previously announced with repair activities starting in September 2018, the USACE has worked with MassDOT to refine the timeline to lessen the impact on travel during the fall tourist season. If any Bourne maintenance activities need to be done in 2018, those activities will only be done in off-peak hours. Extensive several-week long maintenance is now scheduled to occur in the spring 2019.
The new timeline for maintenance is in keeping with the MOU which states, in part, that the USACE 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.” In addition, the USACE and MassDOT 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 but not limited to, identifying efficiencies and cost savings related to traffic setups, lane closures, access restraints, police details, labor, equipment and materials.
Earlier this year, starting the week of April 2, and ending weeks ahead of schedule, (on May 2), prior to Memorial Day weekend, the USACE conducted a large-scale maintenance project seven days a week on the Sagamore Bridge. During the maintenance, travel was limited to one lane in each direction.
In addition to closely coordinating public communication concerning the upcoming maintenance work on the Bourne Bridge, the USACE and MassDOT will continue to have conversations concerning the finalization of two important reports: USACE’s Major Rehabilitation multi-year study on the bridges and MassDOT’s Cape Cod Canal Area Transportation Study. Members of the public who wish to learn more about the status of MassDOT’s study may visit the following website: https://www.mass.gov/cape-cod-canal-transportation-study