New Cape Cod Bridges

whighlander

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Proposal to rebuild Cape Cod Canal bridges turns to specifics
from the Cape Cod Times article

In a long-awaited report issued Thursday, the Corps recommended building new bridges parallel to the existing ones, envisioning each bridge as six lanes across, with two through lanes and one auxiliary lane in each direction.

The Corps also recommended adding shoulders, a median and a dedicated bicycle and pedestrian lane — all features lacking from the 84-year-old existing bridges....
The lane configuration of the bridge that the Corps presented in its draft recommendation is similar to the plan the Massachusetts Department of Transportation put forth in its Cape Cod Canal Transportation Study released earlier this year. The department study looked at making improvements to the roads leading to the bridges. ...

The bridges have come to the end of their useful life and are far from meeting modern-day road standards. In its initial analysis — which looked at scenarios such as replacing both bridges with a single bridge; the addition of a third automobile bridge not overseen by the Corps; replacement of the bridges with tunnels; and even filling in the canal — the Corps determined that the cost of replacement — about $1 billion — would be more practical than spending about the same for major rehabilitation and that full bridge closures that would be needed to keep the infrastructure up to par.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Wouldn't it be cheaper to just let the Canal Tunnel Authority draft a new permit lottery for non-residents? It's been years since the last one was offered for mainlanders. 😏




Or, failing that, maybe not precluding a thoroughly expanded commuter train schedule on the recently upgraded Cape Main tracks at a relatively cut-rate price instead shoving the brokingest-of-broken South Coast FAIL half-measures down the Middleboro Line's throats to the degradation of existing service. Maybe we should try some of those congestion management measures before mandating two 6-lane bridges for $1B a pop (yes, yes...I know they say it's a billion for the whole package, but we know from regional comparison that there's zero chance that estimate will ultimately hold), since those extra-capacity new spans would still slam headfirst into 4-lane roads and arguably could make the backups somehow even WORSE by introducing abrupt lane-drop queues into an already rancid traffic mix. Something, anything before spending top-dollar for an induced-demand capacity grab that is spot-on guaranteed to instantly fail to alleviate the traffic problems.
 

Charlie_mta

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The 3rd lane would serve as a merge lane for the on/off ramps at each end of the new bridge. So I don't see a lot of lane drop back ups happening.. Hopefully they would also replace the rotary at the south end with a diamond grade separated interchange.
 

millerm277

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Maybe we should try some of those congestion management measures before mandating two 6-lane bridges for $1B a pop (yes, yes...I know they say it's a billion for the whole package, but we know from regional comparison that there's zero chance that estimate will ultimately hold)
From the way it sounds, the decision is that the bridges need to be replaced regardless of the number of lanes. So the question is more "what is the cost of building an additional lane on each bridge span vs replacement of the bridges without that?"

since those extra-capacity new spans would still slam headfirst into 4-lane roads and arguably could make the backups somehow even WORSE by introducing abrupt lane-drop queues into an already rancid traffic mix. Something, anything before spending top-dollar for an induced-demand capacity grab that is spot-on guaranteed to instantly fail to alleviate the traffic problems.
I'm not sure I buy this argument for this location.

There's plenty of open/lightly used land at the Bourne Rotary to do something less....awful for traffic flow than the current rotary. A 4-lane overpass to keep thru traffic on 28 out of the intersection entirely, with the auxiliary lanes dropping into a local roundabout/interchange with now more reasonable traffic flows seems like it could work out pretty decently. I do agree that if you did nothing and somehow slammed 6 lanes of traffic directly into the existing Bourne Rotary, that it's obviously not going to work.

And the Sagamore is basically already setup for it with minor changes, and should flow pretty smoothly in my view. Run the auxiliary lanes from US-6/Scenic Highway to the Mid-Cape Connector/Cranberry Highway ramps.

Is there always going to be traffic? Definitely. But I do think you'd see a meaningful increase in throughput and stop the bridges from being the incredible bottleneck to the Cape that they are now.
 

elemenoh

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They're really vague on specifics of how this will merge into the existing road network. Here's the current proposed layout for both bridges:


633E77AF-7A14-429A-A074-E3E41A79D7F7_1_102_o.jpeg
 

Equilibria

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Wouldn't it be cheaper to just let the Canal Tunnel Authority draft a new permit lottery for non-residents? It's been years since the last one was offered for mainlanders. 😏
The bridges are structurally failing. They have to be replaced. This isn't about capacity at all. If it were, USACE wouldn't be doing it - they aren't in the capacity business or the tourism business, they're in the navigable waterway business.

Imagine being the person designing 12 foot lanes in 2019
Imagine being the person who says lanes shouldn't be a safe width on a high speed road... in any year, really.
 

millerm277

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Imagine being the person designing 12 foot lanes in 2019
So...anyone building a highway? Appropriately wide lanes are well-proven to increase safety in highway use and 12ft is the US standard.

I'm all for considering narrowing lanes and traffic calming effects on a local road. These are not local roads, they're divided, limited-access highways, and any pedestrian/cyclist use is going to be fully separated.
 

jass

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So...anyone building a highway? Appropriately wide lanes are well-proven to increase safety in highway use and 12ft is the US standard.
Are you reading the 1960 green book or one of the most recent editions?

The right-most lane should be 12 feet if 30%+ of the traffic using it are trucks or buses. The others should not.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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The bridges are structurally failing. They have to be replaced. This isn't about capacity at all. If it were, USACE wouldn't be doing it - they aren't in the capacity business or the tourism business, they're in the navigable waterway business.



Imagine being the person who says lanes shouldn't be a safe width on a high speed road... in any year, really.
Extremely convenient that this is the first time ever that someone has decreed both existing bridges end-of-life and "failing" while recent rehabs have suggested nothing of the sort...just old-but-maintainable. And the answer to this pure structural conundrum just happens to be a ballsy capacity grab.

It's almost as if those separate considerations got shotgun-married by politics into being mutually self-serving all of a sudden.:cautious:
 

millerm277

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Are you reading the 1960 green book or one of the most recent editions?

The right-most lane should be 12 feet if 30%+ of the traffic using it are trucks or buses. The others should not.
I'd love to see a citation for that, because the only place I see that is in a recommendation about toll booth lane widths. And it still recommends 12ft, it just says 10-11ft can be acceptable.
 

Equilibria

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Extremely convenient that this is the first time ever that someone has decreed both existing bridges end-of-life and "failing"...
As someone who works in this field, these bridges have been deteriorating steadily. They get inspected every year. No one "decreed" this, they just finally got Federal money to do something about it.

...recent rehabs have suggested nothing of the sort...just old-but-maintainable.
It's almost like rehabs don't extend the life of physical assets to "forever" all of a sudden. Rehabs buy you years at increased cost relative to maintaining new, but decreased cost relative to building new. At some point the maintenance cost becomes untenable, and then you rebuild. And the fact that you do mid-life rehab(s) definitely doesn't mean that you think the structure can last forever. It means the exact opposite.

You haven't questioned that logic when it's applied to the Allston Viaduct. What makes this any different?

And the answer to this pure structural conundrum just happens to be a ballsy capacity grab.
And for the one billionth time (in general, not wrt you specifically, F-Line), adding an on/off lane to elimiate a dangerous merge or weave is not the same as adding capacity. You can't possibly believe that a pair of bridges from the WPA era meet current geometric requirements.

And what makes this a capacity "grab" anyway? The constraint that the bridges have 4 travel lanes is built into the Federal mandate for building bridges over the canal. It's obsolete bureaucratic semantics that would take an act of Congress to change. It's not some settlement with the CLF that is meant to preserve the Cape.

I agree with you that the long-term solution for getting people to the Cape is to expand rail service, but these arguments don't hold up.
 

ceo

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They're really vague on specifics of how this will merge into the existing road network. Here's the current proposed layout for both bridges:
That's because the approaches and the connections to the road network are the state's responsibility, not USACE which only owns the canal and the bridges themselves. MassDOT released its own report on this, which I haven't read. https://www.mass.gov/lists/cape-cod-canal-study-documents
 

ErnieAdams

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These bridges are an ongoing public safety crisis and needed to be replaced decades ago. Does anybody who uses these bridges ever feel safe doing it? I'm constantly in fear of being sideswiped on an ill-advised pass or just flat out rammed by someone from over the double yellow. And then when an accident does happen and shuts a bridge down, a lifeline is cut and more lives are at risk as emergency users are forced to sit in gridlock and/or take the long way around. Click here and here and then tell me if you think these bridges are working well and should continue to be rehabbed indefinitely until the whole sandbar goes under.

The minimally responsible way to fix these things is with 12' lanes with separation down the middle, a proper lane for local merges and exits, a proper shoulder for breakdowns, and proper separated bike/ped sidewalks. To do less for the reasons articulated up this thread is to compromise safety in the name of a few misapplied hobby horses. This is being done - or at least planned, and at least so far - right.

ceo, thanks for posting the MassDOT report. That report had no actual visibility into what ACE would recommend, but MassDOT expected they would see an ACE proposal exactly like what we are now seeing in terms of location and overall width. Why should the fact that two governmental bodies as different as MassDOT and ACE came to the same conclusion be evidence of some kind of car-centric nefariousness? I'm farily cynical towards government myself, but I have to think that "keeping more people alive" was a more imminent animating principle.
 

HenryAlan

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10 feet width for a mixed use bi-directional path is inadequate, especially in a location that will be buffeted by both wind and auto shear.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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These bridges are an ongoing public safety crisis and needed to be replaced decades ago. Does anybody who uses these bridges ever feel safe doing it? I'm constantly in fear of being sideswiped on an ill-advised pass or just flat out rammed by someone from over the double yellow. And then when an accident does happen and shuts a bridge down, a lifeline is cut and more lives are at risk as emergency users are forced to sit in gridlock and/or take the long way around. Click here and here and then tell me if you think these bridges are working well and should continue to be rehabbed indefinitely until the whole sandbar goes under.

The minimally responsible way to fix these things is with 12' lanes with separation down the middle, a proper lane for local merges and exits, a proper shoulder for breakdowns, and proper separated bike/ped sidewalks. To do less for the reasons articulated up this thread is to compromise safety in the name of a few misapplied hobby horses. This is being done - or at least planned, and at least so far - right.

ceo, thanks for posting the MassDOT report. That report had no actual visibility into what ACE would recommend, but MassDOT expected they would see an ACE proposal exactly like what we are now seeing in terms of location and overall width. Why should the fact that two governmental bodies as different as MassDOT and ACE came to the same conclusion be evidence of some kind of car-centric nefariousness? I'm farily cynical towards government myself, but I have to think that "keeping more people alive" was a more imminent animating principle.
If "keeping more people alive" were truly the overarching concern, MassHighway would've made its first budget pitch on reconstructing US 6 to Exit 5 to modern (but zero capacity-add) expressway standards. That road's dangerous lack of shoulders, shit sightlines, and horribly substandard ramp geometry has killed and maimed scores more than the bridge approaches over time and is responsible for hugely greater share of delays than the bridge approaches because it's 10 full miles with bupkis resiliency to disruption.

28 is no picnic either with the awful rotary and lack of grade separation. The Falmouth expressway portion needs to be made contiguous to the bridge, and the westerly business curb cuts sheared off onto a 2-lane/2-way frontage re-badged as a 28A re-route. That one definitely isn't hard as a jersey-barriered compacting on the existing footprint serves up the extra carriageway.

No, that doesn't nullify bridge concerns....the whole stinking works is a problem. But this target fixation on dropping a pornographic wad on bridges is deaf to the problems of the whole stinking road network backing onto them from miles on end. If you aren't treating the whole patient you're not meaningfully treating any of it. > $1B needs to reverberate further than that. Leaving 6 a dumpster fire all the way through Sandwich and beyond ensures it won't.
 

cden4

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12' lanes makes sense here because the roadway is really limited access rather than a surface street. Hence why there is a separate bike/ped path rather than sidewalk + bike lanes.
 

ErnieAdams

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No, that doesn't nullify bridge concerns....the whole stinking works is a problem. But this target fixation on dropping a pornographic wad on bridges is deaf to the problems of the whole stinking road network backing onto them from miles on end. If you aren't treating the whole patient you're not meaningfully treating any of it. > $1B needs to reverberate further than that. Leaving 6 a dumpster fire all the way through Sandwich and beyond ensures it won't.
No, this budgetary point is too knee-jerky, and smacks of the "force of belief" complex that you project onto other posters when you don't like their ideas. You would be asking anyone else who made statements like that to provide supporting evidence, with lists of comparable projects and their relative price tags. The fact that you think $1B sounds expensive and that a cost doubling is inevitable doesn't cut it. Every project is stupid expensive now and I simply don't think that you have the facts at hand to pronounce this one "too expensive" within 24 hours of learning about it. It's your prerogative to dislike the project and to think that the whole thing is bad money after worse, but you're not qualified to be the Canal bridge budget czar.

Granted that the surrounding road system is a mess. I've been on here before saying exactly that. The bridges are also 20 years older than most of those roads and 20 years more substandard. They get to go first.
 

Arlington

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I would like to see reversible dynamic toll (Bus/HOT) lanes on RT 3 with proceeds to pay for improved rail, and dynamic tolling on the bridge itself /themselves
 

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