Monday, January 31, 2011

Sagamore Bridge solution

Guest article by Jeff Foster
The Sagamore and Bourne bridges were built in the mid 1930’s. They replaced outmoded and antiquated bridges and handled the increased automobile traffic flow.
At the time the bridges were designed, they were sufficient to handle the traffic flow on and off the Cape.
As years have passed the volume of traffic has increased dramatically; increases both on a daily basis and during the peak summer season.
The Sagamore Bridge is now overworked. The heavy flow of auto traffic causes repairs to be done much sooner than would be required if there was a lesser traffic flow. These repairs cause no end of traffic problems to folks who depend on the bridge daily.
How do we rectify the situation?
I’ll bet (studies would probably confirm this) that more than three quarters of the Sagamore bridge traffic represents through trips. This means that they originate beyond the first exit on either side of the bridge.
What is needed is another bridge dedicated to those through trips. Local trips would use the current bridge and its road network.
The east entrance to the third bridge would be on the level ground approach to the current bridge. The approach would break left and come down the hill toward the canal above the long approach road that passes Pave Paws and the Outlet Mall.
The bridge would continue across the canal, at a slight angle with the current bridge. It would reach the other side on the vacant land to the west of the current bridge. Whether the state or Army Corps of Engineers owns that land, I don’t know. Then it would continue above ground past the Department of Public Works shed where it would join Route 3.
The bridge would be double decked so that less width is needed and, if a crash occurs on one level, the other is left unimpeded. The majority of the infrastructure work would be at each end of the bridge, not at the current strangle points of the Sagamore Bridge.
Several reasons that make this plan attractive
  • The current bridge and the infrastructure would be left alone. There wouldn’t be any reconstruction of the Sagamore Bridge and few changes would be necessary to the road network. And with the flow of traffic lessened on the current bridge, future repairs would be needed less frequently, saving money and increasing the longevity of the bridge.
  • Modern bridge construction methods would result in a minimum of land needed under the new bridge. I envision slender ground support towers to support the bridge.
  • There would be a minimum amount of private land taking. The major parcels are owned by the state or the Army Corps of Engineers. Reaching a deal with these parties should be relatively easy. Private land that must be taken should be well paid for so as to reduce the need to enter into long term Land Court negotiations.
  • For aesthetic beauty, the current bridge would be left intact. Surely many would complain if the Sagamore was to be visually altered.
  • As a plus, this would give us three road bridges off the Cape in case one might be closed for repairs, or if we had to evacuate.
  • This plan could be implemented in a reasonable time. There would be fewer land takings, road relocations, and fewer parties involved.
I grew up in Dennis and have gone over the Sagamore Bridge for years. While I am not a professional engineer, during my 24 years as a location and marketing research manager for a major supermarket chain, I have rubbed shoulders with many contractors, engineers, planners and town boards, which leaves me familiar with the elements that would be important for such a project.
I welcome comments to spur a discussion about this proposal.
Jeff Foster

1 comment:

  1. Carl Johansen stated,

    Jeff, with out question looking towards the future, increasing the traffic flow on and off cape will remain an economic challenge.

    Building a new bridge across the canal,has a lot of merit, as does building a tunnel under the canal.

    It actually may be more cost effective to go underground and build a four lane tunnel.

    Once the tunnel was built it would be a safer route to take in case of a natural catastrophy. This would eliminate closing the bridge once the wind gets to high.

    Another part concerns the safety and maintence. A bridge would be subjected to constant maintenance costs as well. A tunnel most likely would also have a longer life span, because it is not being subjected to changing weather conditions.

    The canal has a few locations where a tunnel would fit in and cost a whole lot over its life span less perhaps then trying to put another bridge across it..

    We do need long term,another aproach to the cape, to remain economically viable.

    Carl Johansen
    A concerned citizen of Sandwich


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