December 17, 2019

Senators Warren and Markey, and Rep. Keating Urge Army Corps Leaders to Replace Cape Cod Canal Bridges

Massachusetts lawmakers call for adoption of New England District’s replacement recommendation

Washington, DC – United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), and Congressman William R. Keating (MA-09), today sent a letter to the two top officials in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), calling on them to adopt the recommendation of the USACE’s New England District and replace both Cape Cod Canal Bridges.
The USACE’s New England District recently concluded in its draft “Major Rehabilitation Evaluation Report” that the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges are structurally deficient and in desperate need of replacement. The New England District further determined that a full replacement of both bridges is more cost-effective than repairing and rehabilitating the existing structures. Senators Warren and Markey, and Congressman Keating, have previously applauded this report and recommendation as significant progress toward addressing the needs of these two vital infrastructure projects.

In order to further the New England District’s recommendation, Senator Markey and the offices of Senator Warren and Congressman Keating recently met with federal, state, and local stakeholders to discuss a joint financing plan to replace the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges. In today’s letter, these Massachusetts lawmakers expressed their concern about the possibility discussed at this meeting that the USACE’s national headquarters may still choose to repair and rehabilitate the existing Canal bridges rather than build two new structures as the New England District recommended.

“Replacing both the Bourne and Sagamore is not only the best solution for the Cape and Islands, it is the only viable long-term solution for the nearly 250,000 residents and businesses of the region who rely on this vital connection to the rest of Massachusetts,” wrote the Massachusetts lawmakers in their letter to Lieutenant General Todd T. Semonite and Assistant Secretary of the Army R.D. James. “We urge you to adopt the recommendation of the USACE’s New England District: full replacement of both Canal Bridges.” 

The Massachusetts delegation has supported various efforts to strengthen the Cape Cod bridges: 
  • In October 2019, as part of America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, Senators Warren and Markey secured language directing the Army Corps of Engineers to repair or replace critical evacuation routes, such as the Sagamore and Bourne Bridges.
  • Also in October 2019, Senators Warren and Markey, and Congressman Keating, commended the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for its draft “Major Rehabilitation Evaluation Report” on the Sagamore and Bourne Bridges in Cape Cod.
  • In May 2019, Senators Markey and Warren, and Congressman Keating, introduced the Enhancing the Strength and Capacity of America’s Primary Evacuation Routes (ESCAPE) Act, legislation that dedicates $1 billion of federal resources to expand the capacity and improve the resilience of evacuation routes such as the Sagamore and Bourne bridges.
  • In June 2019, Congressman Keating secured $5 million in the House’s Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (T-HUD) Appropriations Bill for the redesign of the bridges in their role as federally designated escape routes.
  • In July of 2019, Senator Markey secured both the ESCAPE Act and a $3.265 billion nation-wide bridge investment program in the highway funding bill passed by the Environment and Public Works Committee.