State to Take Ownership of Cape Bridges; Officials Welcome the Change
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to transfer ownership of the Bourne and Sagamore bridges to the state of Massachusetts as part of the plan to replace both bridges.
Congressman Bill Keating and other officials said they welcome the change.
Keating said the Massachusetts Department of Transportation has the construction expertise the project needs, and the partnership will make it more efficient.
“You won’t have two entities trying to match up or link up many times along the line,” he said. “So I always thought that this harmony would be something that would be required.”
The state will coordinate the bridge replacement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which controls the Cape Cod Canal.
In the town of Bourne, home to both of the bridges, Assistant Town Administrator Glenn Cannon said the move comes as good news.
“I think it’s a very important moment,” he said. “You know, MassDOT is much more experienced at bridges than the Army Corps of Engineers are.”
The Army Corps and MassDOT plan to sign a memorandum of understanding on Tuesday.
According to MassDOT, the agreement stipulates that the federal government is still responsible for the estimated $1 billion cost to replace the two bridges.
Massachusetts will handle future maintenance, which could mean charging tolls someday, according to State Senator Randy Hunt.
“So it’s going to be really important to find out ... if there’s going to be any maintenance kitty” coming from federal funds, he said.
Both bridges date to 1935. Keating said that at the time, the bridges were assigned to the Army Corps because it oversees the canal as a navigational waterway.