Plans to replace the Sagamore and Bourne bridges connecting Cape Cod to the rest of Massachusetts will go forward even as Congress works to nail down funding for two new replacement bridges, members of the state’s congressional delegation said this week.
A $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill recently approved by the U.S. Senate includes about $8 billion for Massachusetts — with more than a billion of that set aside for replacing bridges like the two aging spans over the Cape Cod Canal, according to Democratic U.S. Sen. Edward Markey.
“The Bourne and the Sagamore bridges are vital parts of the Cape’s economy and their way of life, connecting the residents of this region to the rest of Massachusetts,” Markey said Wednesday. “Unfortunately these two bridges are also over 80 years old, structurally deficient and in desperate need of replacement.”
Markey made the comments at an event Wednesday near the Sagamore bridge, according to the Cape Cod Times.
“Amongst all those various programs and funding sources, I know that we can deliver two new bridges for the people of Cape Cod and Massachusetts,” Markey added, pointing to a separate $3.5 trillion budget resolution also approved by the Senate.
The U.S. House is still working to move both pieces of legislation forward. Democrats hold slim majorities in both chambers.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the owner of the bridges. The Corps will maintain control of the existing bridges until the new bridges are completed, at which point control of the new structures will be transferred to the state.
A final report from the Corps of Engineers said if the bridges aren’t replaced within five years or so, one of the spans will have to be completely closed for 18 months for maintenance.
That will exceed the cost of the replacements, according to Democratic U.S. Rep. William Keating.
“We will replace the bridges. It is going to happen. And it’s a timeframe where we have to have it happen,” Keating said, according to the Times.
Construction on both existing bridges began in 1933. Their narrower lanes no longer meet current highway standards.
Officials have said there are no plans for tolls on the new bridges, which will be designed to better handle vehicle traffic as well as pedestrians and bicyclists.