Gov. Healey’s new technique for getting the Cape Cod bridges rebuilt? Get the Sagamore carried out first.


The brand new “phased” method prioritizes getting one bridge rebuilt sooner over getting a funding pledge for the substitute of each bridges, however Healey stated her workplace continues to be dedicated to rebuilding each bridges.

Gov. Maura Healey is prioritizing the substitute of the Sagamore Bridge after repeated setbacks in getting funding for the substitute of each bridges. Erin Clark / The Boston Globe

After seemingly infinite setbacks to garnering funding to switch Cape Cod‘s previous, decrepit bridges, Gov. Maura Healey is making an attempt one thing new — making an attempt to get funding for the bridges one by one.

Healey selected the Sagamore Bridge as her first goal in her functions for federal funding this month, her workplace stated in a press release Monday. Her workplace is finalizing functions due Aug. 21 that can compete for $1.45 billion in grant cash.

The brand new “phased” method prioritizes getting one bridge rebuilt sooner over getting a funding pledge for the substitute of each bridges, however Healey stated her workplace continues to be dedicated to rebuilding each 88-year-old, federally-owned bridges.

“This primary part will allow us to get shovels within the floor rapidly on the Sagamore Bridge, lay the groundwork for rebuilding the Bourne Bridge, and transfer ahead on the allowing and design of each bridges,” she stated within the assertion.

Whereas it’s unclear when Healey would start agitating for federal funding for the Bourne Bridge, she stated she believes getting funding for one bridge maximizes the possibilities of making any progress on this undertaking.

For years, state and native leaders have issued pressing calls to switch the bridges, citing the tens of tens of millions of automobiles that journey on them every year, their significance to the Cape’s residents and employees, and their affect on the Cape’s and the state’s economic system.

State officers now suppose the whole undertaking will value $4.5 billion, The Boston Globe reported, up from final yr’s $4 billion estimate. In addition they imagine it may take as much as eight years to rebuild each, the newspaper reported.

Why Healey is prioritizing the Sagamore Bridge

In an e mail, Healey’s workplace gave a number of causes for eager to rebuild the Sagamore Bridge first.

The primary purpose is just visitors wants. A median of practically 17,000 extra automobiles journey on the Sagamore Bridge than the Bourne Bridge every day, the Globe reported. The Sagamore Bridge additionally takes drivers straight onto Route 6 — the Cape’s important freeway.

The brand new Sagamore Bridge can have wider lanes, an auxiliary lane, and for the primary time, bicycle and pedestrian “lodging,” Healey’s workplace stated. As a result of the bridge will get extra visitors, it stated, these enhancements can have an even bigger affect.

The second purpose is security. The bridges are in a equally deteriorated situation, however as a result of the Sagamore Bridge will get extra visitors, security enhancements can have a better impact.

The truth is, Healey’s workplace stated, as a result of bridge’s format and visitors quantity, the Sagamore Bridge sees 56% of the overall crashes that occur on the 2 bridges.

The third purpose is financial affect. Given its direct entry to Route 6 and better visitors quantity, the Sagamore’s rehabilitation can have a bigger optimistic affect on the Cape’s economic system.

State officers estimate that changing the Sagamore Bridge will value $2.15 billion, the Globe reported. Building on it wouldn’t start till 2028 and would seemingly proceed by means of 2035.

Reactions to the brand new technique

Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce Chief Government Paul Niedzwiecki advised the Globe he’s involved about “misalignment” between the planning, allowing, and financing of the 2 bridges.

“I perceive the phased method to financing and having a extra aggressive utility means having a extra sensible utility. However not having funds recognized particularly for the Bourne Bridge substitute is a priority,” he stated.

In an interview with the Globe, Healey was reportedly unable to say when her workplace would pursue funding for the Bourne Bridge.

“Final yr, we pursued an utility that was useless on arrival. We didn’t need to repeat the identical follow,” Healey advised the newspaper. “This can be concrete. Will probably be a big step ahead.”

Nonetheless, the Cape’s congressional delegation advised the Globe it helps the brand new method.

“This can be a good, pragmatic method to capturing the cash,” U.S. Rep. Invoice Keating — a Bourne Democrat — advised the newspaper. “The danger isn’t performing. This was at all times going to be phased-in over a interval of years as a result of it’s such a prolonged undertaking.”

U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey joined Keating in praising the method in a joint assertion to the Globe, saying that “Massachusetts now has a combating probability to begin changing the bridges.”

Funding sources for the Cape Cod bridge substitute

This month, Healey’s workplace is sending in functions for the Multimodal Challenge Discretionary Grants, which embrace cash for each freeway and basic infrastructure tasks. This fall, it’ll comply with that up with an utility for the Bridge Funding Program.

“We imagine that it is a aggressive utility that can put us on one of the best footing to maneuver ahead on this undertaking that’s essential for the economic system of the Cape and our complete state,” Healey stated in her Monday assertion.

Healey is making use of for $372 million from the primary grant program and $1.08 billion from the second, the Globe reported. Each these packages have been a part of President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Regulation.

In June, Healey included $262 million towards changing the bridges in her administration’s 2024-2028 Capital Funding Plan. The earlier month, she pledged to commit $700 million to the undertaking long run, doubling what had beforehand been promised by the state.

In December 2022, the Biden administration awarded Massachusetts a $1.6 million planning grant for the bridges.

He adopted that up in March 2023 with a $350 million down cost for bridge substitute in his price range and agreed to switch possession from the Military Corps of Engineers to the commonwealth. This proposal made it by means of the U.S. Senate in July.

How the Cape Cod bridges bought so far

Accomplished in 1935, the Cape Cod bridges have been meant to final 50 years however have been repeatedly repaired over the past a number of many years to maintain them upright. The one roads on and off the Cape for greater than 35 million automobiles a yr, bridge building has led to miles-long visitors backups.

Within the final 5 years, a examine on the Cape Cod Canal and one other on the bridges themselves recognized the necessity to have them rebuilt. One of many research even known as the bridges “functionally out of date.”

In April 2020, the Military Corps of Engineers introduced the choice to switch the bridges. However since then, state leaders have confronted setback after setback in getting federal funding allotted for his or her substitute.

Officers say that if the bridges aren’t changed, they could have to completely shut a lane in every course on the Bourne Bridge by 2032 and on the Sagamore Bridge by 2036, the Globe reported. Within the following years, they’d be compelled to restrict the dimensions of vehicles allowed to journey on the bridge.

Officers’ continued push to switch the bridges

On Monday, Healey known as the Cape Cod bridges’ substitute considered one of her administration’s “prime priorities.”

Along with doubling state funding for the undertaking, the governor highlighted that she has employed a director of federal funds and infrastructure and advocated for the inclusion of bridge substitute funding in Biden’s price range.

Warren has additionally been taking motion to safe funding for the bridges’ substitute. In July, she requested Cape Cod leaders to jot down to her explaining how the bridges’ disrepair has impacted their communities and the way their substitute would higher the Cape.

Responses from the leaders, due Aug. 2, would assist the senator advocate for bridge substitute funding, she stated. To date, she has not issued any updates on this call-out.