BOURNE (CBS) – The Army Corps of Engineers says the Bourne and Sagamore bridges should be replaced. A report released Thursday found that’s the most cost-effective option to deal with a problem that’s caused legendary traffic jams, costing Cape Cod businesses millions of dollars.
State and federal engineers have spent five years coming up with a new plan for the 84-year-old bridges. They said continuing to fix the “functionally obsolete” bridges as they increasingly require more repair and maintenance work is too costly.
“The economic analysis suggests that fixing the current bridges as components deteriorate will lead to greatly increased costs, particularly costs for travelers delayed in traffic,” a draft report says. “This study has determined that providing two new highway bridges would be the most cost effective means of providing safe and reliable crossings.”
It would cost $395 million to repair the bridges between 2025 and 2031. It would require 760 days of lane closures and 310 days of full bridge closures.
Replacing the bridges would cost $601 million between 2025 and 2034. The existing bridges would remain in operation until the new bridges open, though.
The new bridges would also each have four travel lanes, two in each direction. They would also include a separate lane for bicycles and pedestrians.
“We made the determination that even if we make all the necessary repairs and rehabilitating on the 80-year-old bridges, they’re still 80-year-old bridges. We want to replace those with modern bridges,” Scott Acone from Army Corps of Engineers told WBZ-TV.
Wendy Northcross from Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce explained, ”The economic imperative is to unclog the clog we have in our heart. If We can get rid of that clog, the blood can flow, our visitors can flow. The people who live and work here will be able to get around and that’s really what we need to get done.”
Five public meetings will be held in October about the bridge study. The times and locations can be found here.
The Corps expects to submit a final recommendation to Washington D.C. in February 2020. The bridges are currently both scheduled to undergo a second “major rehabilitation” costing nearly $400 million in 2025-2027.