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


Washington (December 17, 2019) – Massachusetts Senators Edward J. Markey and Elizabeth Warren, 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 Markey and Warren, and Congressman Keating, have previously applaudedthis 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 recently hosted a meeting with representatives from Senator Warren and Congressman Keating’s offices that convened 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.”


A copy of the letter can be found HERE.


The Massachusetts delegation has supported various efforts to strengthen the Cape Cod bridges: 

  • As part of America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, Senators Markey and Warren secured language directing the Army Corps of Engineers to repair or replace critical evacuation routes, such as the Sagamore and Bourne Bridges.
  • In May 2019, Senators Markey and Warren, and Rep. Keating, introduced the 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 bridge investment program in the highway funding bill passed by the Environment and Public Works Committee, ensuring multiple funding routes are available for replacing the Cape Cod Canal Bridges.