'It would destroy me': Neighbors in path of new Sagamore Bridge dread losing their homes
I’m knocking on doors in a small subdivision just west of the Sagamore Bridge, on the Cape side.
The bridge looms high behind Cecilia Terrace. This street is the closest in the neighborhood to where the new Sagamore will likely land.
Eleanor Gallo, who is 80 years old, answers the door of a blue ranch. She’s worried the state will take her house.
“They just said they're going to take everything on this street. … That's all I know,” she says.
The source of that information is unclear, and she doesn’t have anything in writing.
“But they took all the trees, and now you can hear trucks all night long,” she says, referring to a clearing near the bridge.
As the conversation turns toward what she’ll do if she’s forced out of her home, she gestures toward the wheelchair she’s using.
“This is from waitressing two jobs all my life,” she says. And she can’t afford to buy another home on the Cape if loses this house to the new bridge.
“I'd have to go into, like, a — some sort of home."
John Gallo, namesake of the local ice arena, developed this neighborhood, and named the streets after his four children.
Daughter Cecilia, whose last name is now Collins, lives a bit farther from the bridge, on a street named for her sister.
She says she can’t imagine what the construction or the new bridge will do to the neighborhood.
“It's going to be awful,” she says. “I don't think they’d take our house. I doubt it.”
But her niece lives across the street, nearer to the path of construction.
“I think she'd be looking at the pillars,” Collins says.
Her husband, Dave Collins, says selling the house isn’t a realistic option.
“You wouldn't be able to give the houses away,” he says. He’s heard the state might build a wall to block the sound.
“Please. I've lived here all my life, and I just think it's wrong. I really do."
A few houses in the neighborhood are occupied by renters.
Without property on the line, they’re more focused on the possible benefits of new bridges.
Kassia Souza, one of those renters, is standing on her front porch. She wants to talk, but she’s not sure of her English, so she gets her husband on the phone.
“She's saying how … everything is going to be better, especially in the summer, because it's very busy, the bridge,” he says. “It's going to be better, more safe.”
At one house, where the bridge abutment almost feels like it’s in the side yard already, renter Jared Concannon is thinking about the traffic.
“In the summertime, it's an absolute nightmare,” he says, 3-year-old daughter Piper in his arms.
Every day, he drives over the Sagamore Bridge to take her to daycare.
“That bridge was built in 1935, and I don't think it was built to handle the weight that it has today,” he says. “They say they're going to build two twin bridges with three lanes on each side. [That] would be a big help to the Cape traffic, absolutely.”
The third lane on each side is actually an entrance-and-exit lane, according to the state, though critics say the result will either be more cars on Cape Cod or just moving the traffic jam farther down the road.
Whether new bridges help or not, the plan for the Sagamore would bring the bridge right toward the house where Mary Gallerani has lived since 1958.
The house is on a hillside, with a clear view of the bridge. She opens the door cautiously.
She thinks the state is going to take her house.
“I think from the original plans, they're going to take this whole neighborhood,” she says. “So there'll be 15 houses, so you're destroying a whole community. Plus you're destroying the village of Sagamore, which is a destination for a lot of people because of the canal.”
She recalls how she used to look out her kitchen window and see her husband’s car cross the bridge as he came home from work.
She says she’s a positive person, but she can’t help feeling negative about what a new Sagamore Bridge might do.
“I'm 87 years old, and … it would destroy me,” she says. “My husband died here. It has so many memories of bringing up our children.”
She says it's sad to think of leaving, but she doesn’t dwell on it.
She hopes to live out her life here — and keep looking out her kitchen window, at the old Sagamore Bridge.