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Congressional Rep: Cape Cod bridge replacement project will get funding from federal infrastructure bill

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The Congressional representative for the Cape, Coast and Islands says that the massive federal infrastructure bill has funding for the replacement of the Bourne and Sagamore bridges.

Representative Bill Keating says that Cape and Islands residents can "rest assured" that the $1 trillion bill approved in Congress will have funding for the two critical spans, which are both past their life expectancy.

"In fact, there's no doubt in my mind that this pool of money will secure any doubts that people may have in terms of funding for those projects," Keating said. He spoke to CAI from Glasgow, Scotland where he is attending the UN Climate Change Conference.

Keating says funding has been the major hurdle holding up the replacement project.

"I think people can rest assure the money is there now," he said. "So now we're just dealing with the implementation going forward for the replacement of those bridges. That's important. In fact, it's critical, because without [the bridges], the Cape and the Islands would be cut off."

The bridge project is expected to cost more than $1 billion.

The Army Corps of Engineers in 2019 recommended building two new bridges that will be almost three times as wide than what's there now. Each bridge would have three lanes in both directions, under the Army Corp's recommendations. Two would be for "through traffic," while each will have what the Army Corps is calling an "auxiliary lane" for easier exiting.

Part of the project will include re-aligning the roads to meet the newer bridges.

Also included in the trillion-dollar infrastructure bill is funding for water quality projects. Keating says that includes several projects on the Cape to treat nitrogen polluted water bodies, that's expected to cost communities millions. Like Barnstable, where the town's nitrogen mitigation project is expected to cost over a billion dollars. Several Cape water bodies are exceeding federal standards of the Clean Water Act because of excessive nitrogen, largely from outdated septic systems.

The congressman says there is also funding to make the region more resilient to stronger storms, and that includes sand replenishment projects and dredging.

He called the bill the most important piece of legislation that he's voted for in his decade-long tenure.

"Of all the bills we've voted on, this probably ranks as number one," Keating said.

Although he added that maybe more important would be a bill the US House is expected to vote on in the coming weeks that would provide funding for communities trying to cut down on fossil fuel use, and that would provide a social safety net for American families.

Sam Houghton left CAI in February, 2023, to become News Editor at the Martha's Vineyard Times.
He worked at CAI since the summer of 2017. Before that, he worked at the Falmouth Enterprise, where he covered local politics.