Regional Organizations Form Canal Bridges Task Force
The Bourne and Sagamore bridges are instantly recognizable landmarks that serve as both a symbolic and a literal gateway to Cape Cod. However, the continued degradation of these 87-year-old, functionally obsolete structures also represents a significant threat to the region’s long-term viability. Our federal and state delegations and agencies are making marked progress in identifying, developing, and funding sustainable solutions, and deliberate action from our communities is needed now.
In recognition of the regional importance of safe and reliable canal crossings, the Cape Cod Commission, the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, and the Association to Preserve Cape Cod have partnered to establish the Canal Bridges Task Force. The purpose of the Task Force is to share information, assist with outreach efforts, collect and coordinate input, and advocate for the replacement of the Bourne and Sagamore bridges in a manner that is in the best long-term interest of the region and its people.
Cape Cod Commission Executive Director Kristy Senatori noted, “This once in a century project will impact the ability of the region’s transportation system to meet the current and future needs of Cape Cod’s residents, businesses, and visitors who depend on safe and reliable canal crossings.”
The US Army Corps of Engineers - the agency currently responsible for the canal bridges - and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) are currently working on a plan to replace the Bourne and Sagamore bridges and improve the transportation network in the area. Upon completion, MassDOT will take on responsibility for the new bridges.
The Bourne and Sagamore bridges see over 38 million vehicle crossings each year and provide for the reliable movement of people and goods to the Cape and the Islands. On the importance of the bridges, Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce CEO Paul Niedzwiecki stated: “The Bourne and Sagamore bridges provide the economic link between Cape Cod and rest of the Commonwealth. The reliability of the bridges directly impacts the long-term viability of region’s economy and the ability of local businesses to survive and thrive.”
Association to Preserve Cape Cod Executive Director Andrew Gottlieb added, “It is important to have a regional voice calling for the timely replacement of the Bourne and Sagamore bridges while at the same time ensuring the size and scope of the project respects the environmental sensitivity of the Cape.”
MassDOT and the Army Corps are currently seeking input on the Cape Cod Canal Bridges Program, a program consisting of replacement of the Bourne and Sagamore bridges, as well as improvements to the approach roadway networks to address the multimodal deficiencies within the Cape Cod Canal area. More information on the program and how to submit feedback can be found at www.mass.gov/cape-bridges.
The Task Force looks to build on the regional and local stakeholder participation that will continue to play an important role as key decisions are contemplated on the bridge type, location, size, and design. The outcome of this process will affect the long-term vitality of our economy, the vibrancy of our communities, and our ability to continue to be a place that is loved by residents and visitors alike.