Army Corps of Engineers calls for $1B replacement of two Cape Cod Canal bridges

Oct. 7, 2019

The Sagamore and Bourne bridges are 84 years old and functionally obsolete

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) released a draft recommendation regarding the Sagamore Bridge and Bourne Bridge, which both span the Cape Cod Canal, calling for the full replacement of both structures.

Both bridges were built 84 years ago with a design life of 50 years, making them both structurally deficient and functionally obsolete. The Corps controls both bridges, and its decision here has been long-anticipated after several years of deliberation and consideration.

Multiple plans of address were considered, including different bridge configurations, tunnels and causeways, and even the idea of filling in the canal and directing marine traffic around the Cape. Ultimately, it was determined that replacement was the best and most prudent option. The present structures will remain in service while the new bridges are built adjacent to them. Road infrastructure leading up to the bridges will also be rehabilitated and improved.

The Corps released a set of pictures from the bridge that showed alarming conditions such as pitted concrete and rusted metal. As the bridges and their components continue to age, the cost of operation and maintenance and periodic rehabilitation slowly escalates,” the Corps said in its report, describing the existing structures as “functionally obsolete.”

While a timeline for the replacement has not yet been issued, a series of public meetings will take place through October on the Cape, as well as in Plymouth and Boston, and the public comment period will remain open through Nov. 1. The Sagamore Bridge is scheduled for a $185 million rehabilitation as early as 2025, while the Bourne Bridge would undergo a similar, $210 million project in 2029.

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