The Cape Cod bridges may get replaced after all.
After funding for the ambitious project was denied earlier this year, the Biden administration on Friday announced a $372 million grant toward the replacements for the Bourne and Sagamore bridges. The award represents the full amount requested by Gov. Maura Healey's administration in August 2023, and the hope is that it opens the door to additional funding for the multi-billion dollar project in the future.
The two 90-year-old bridges remain the only roads on and off Cape Cod for the hundreds of thousands of residents and visitors to Cape Cod and the islands. Their replacements have long been eyed by state officials as one of the top priorities for major infrastructure projects in Massachusetts.
"This is a breakthrough moment and a strong sign of larger federal investments to come," Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said. "Senator Ed Markey, Rep. Bill Keating, and Governor Maura Healey have all pressed hard to make this happen. This investment is possible thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – a once-in-a-generation law I worked with President Biden to deliver. Let’s be clear: this grant is a big deal, and it’s hopefully the start of more to come. After years of work and persistence, Massachusetts is well-positioned to bring in federal funding to replace these bridges."
The "more to come" is an even larger $1.06 billion grant application submitted by the Healey administration to the federal Bridge Investment Program (BIP) Large Bridge Project Program.
“This is a huge win for Team Massachusetts. Our administration said from day one that we were going to compete aggressively for federal funding to bring home to support crucial infrastructure projects in Massachusetts, like the Cape Cod Bridges project,” said Governor Healey. “We are thrilled that our first application was a success, and we are optimistic that we are in a strong position to bring home the remaining funding."
The Bourne and Sagamore bridges were built in 1933, and they "changed the relationship between the Cape and the rest of Massachusetts." Nearly 90 years later, the state began evaluating its options to replace the aging bridges and address the surrounding roadways, and in April 2020 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers made the formal decision to move ahead with the massive undertaking. The state calls the two bridges "functionally obsolete" and claim they "no longer meet the needs of the traveling public."