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Federal funding denied for Cape bridges replacement

BOSTON - Plans for replacing the Bourne and Sagamore bridges have been upset by the denial of a federal grant, which was expected to provide nearly half the funding to replace both bridges.

 The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (DOT) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) have been working on the replacement project for several years.  

The Sagamore Bridge.  CBS Boston

The USACE requested $1.882 billion in the first round of the Federal Highway Administration's Bridge Investment Program Grants. The request, about 47% of the plan's $3,976 billion total cost, was denied.

"The Cape Cod Bridges are federal assets, and the responsibility to replace them lies with the USACE and the federal government. The Baker-Polito Administration is disappointed that this latest funding application has been denied," said MassDOT spokesperson Jacquelyn Goddard, adding that Massachusetts has worked.

The bridges that connect about a quarter million people on the Cape and 5 million annual visitors are more than 85 years old and have been deemed structurally deficient. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers determined that it would be more cost efficient to replace the aging bridges rather than repair them, and the new bridges would be better equipped to handle more cars as well as pedestrians and bicyclists.  

The bridge project was included in the 5,593-page stimulus package passed by Congress in December 2020. The bill called for "expedited completion" of the planning process for dozens of projects around the country, including the effort to "replace the Bourne and Sagamore bridges."

In January 2021, Sen. Ed Markey invited incoming Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to visit Cape Cod and tour the Bourne and Sagamore bridges.

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