Massachusetts department of transportation (MassDOT) has announced that it has hired Cambridge Systematics to help assess the feasibility of finding a private developer to build the Sagamore twin bridge, between Cape Cod and mainland Massachusetts.
To get the Sagamore twin off the ground, MassDOT would next undertake the environmental permitting - a process that could take three years. Then the concessionaire would be sought, and a construction process expected to take another three years would follow.
The project cost is estimated at around US$320 million.
This would be the third bridge across the Cape Cod Canal, parallel to the existing Sagamore Bridge. The new span, which is only in an exploratory stage, would be built and operated privately. The winner of this concession agreement would finance the bridge's construction and then pay back the debt by collecting tolls over the life of a long-term lease. Once the lease ends, the bridge would revert to state control.
An average 22,100 vehicles travel per day to and from the Cape but can see up to 50,000 during the summer, sometimes causing backups for hours during peak season. The extra bridge would provide an alternative when traffic is restricted on the other bridges.
The Cape Cod Canal is an artificial waterway in the state of Massachusetts connecting Cape Cod Bay in the north to Buzzards Bay in the south. Part of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, the approximately 11.3km canal traverses the narrow neck of land joining Cape Cod to the state's mainland. Most of its length follows tidal rivers widened to 150 m and deepened to 9.8 m at mean low water, shaving 217 kms off the journey around the Cape.