The New England District and their partner, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, held five public meetings to listen to comments from Cape Cod residents about the fate of the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges.
The District is conducting a Cape Cod Canal Highway Bridges Major Rehabilitation Evaluation Study. Meetings were held in Bourne, Plymouth, the Island of Nantucket, the Island of Martha’s Vineyard and Hyannis, Massachusetts.
Col. William Conde, New England District Commander, kicked off the series of meetings by giving remarks in Bourne on Dec. 4. Lt. Col. Sonny Avichal, Deputy District Commander, and Tim Dugan, Acting Chief, Public Affairs, opened the other four meetings.
“The Bourne and Sagamore Bridges are part of the Cape Cod Canal Federal Navigation Project,” he said. “The bridges provide the only means of vehicular access across the canal to the 15 towns on the Cape and Islands which are home to over 215,000 full-time residents and a destination for more than five million visitors annually. Since bridge construction was completed in 1935, the Corps has vigilantly maintained and repaired the now 83-year-old bridges, to keep them performing as originally intended.”
The New England District Commander said it is the District’s intent to provide the public with an understanding of what led the Corps to initiate a major rehabilitation evaluation study for the bridges, the initial alternatives being considered, what activities will need to be completed over the year to finalize a report and how the public can help the Corps with the decision-making process.
Project Manager Craig Martin gave a detailed presentation during the meeting to include a discussion of the alternatives.
Martin and other members of the study team made themselves available during open houses prior to the meetings as well as after the meetings to answer questions from the public.
The alternatives the Corps is currently studying include:
1) without project plan (no action, continue to repair bridges as needed);
2) major rehabilitation of each bridge as they currently exist and maintenance of the rehabbed bridges in the future;
3) replacement of each bridge with a new structure built to current authorization of four lanes, two lanes each way brought up to modern highway standards with appropriate bike/pedestrian access; and
4) replacement of each bridge with a new structure built to include the 4 authorized lanes and 2 auxiliary lanes designed as acceleration/deceleration lanes (entrance/exit) and built to modern day highway standards with appropriate bike/pedestrian access.
Close to 300 people attended the five meetings. Among the attendees were representatives from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Edward Markey and Rep. William Keating’s offices. Many members of local government also came out to hear the briefings.
Some of those who spoke at the meetings offered additional suggestions to the Corps on bridge alternatives that they thought should be considered. Those suggestions will be reviewed as part of the MRER study and NEPA process.
More information on the Corps' Cape Cod Canal bridge study, including fact sheets and the presentation from the public information meetings, is available on the website at www.CapeCodCanalBridgesStudy.com.