Cape Cod Rail, Bridges and Highways

BeyondRevenue

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Is that a left turn lane coming onto the rotary from the bridge? Does that strike anyone else as horribly confusing?

I say this as someone who handles rotaries like they’re second nature.
Seems like a lot of 'extra' structure
 

kingofsheeba

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Prior to wholesale roadway redesign as part of the bridges project, MassDOT is proposing an ... interesting... non-standard interim modification to the Bourne Rotary. (and apparently abandoning the conceptual approach from the 2019 study, which given the future two-bridge architecture may make sense)
Not going to lie, I think if it was my first time as an out of state visitor, it would actually confuse me more - especially the need to shift right a lane to continue on 28 and that left turn lane marking as depicted coming southbound over the bridge.

View attachment 31419View attachment 31412
Yeah that stupid topiary Cape Cod welcome sign is an eyesore. But we love “iconic” things and in addition to MassDOT whitewashing the fence by adding a few lanes, I cringe at the accidents that will triple when this is redone
 

mass88

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Massachusetts has a history of being provincial and behind the curve on highway design, but come on, an overpass here is appropriate.
Yep. This state lacks proper acceleration and deceleration lanes, flyover ramps instead of cloverleaf interchanges, and also adding additional travel lanes in key areas, such as the leadup to and also after interchanges. We don't need to be Houston, or Atlanta with 14 lane highways. But the fact that you have 4 lanes merging into 3 immediately onto 24 south from 93 is a big problem.
 

HenryAlan

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Is that a left turn lane coming onto the rotary from the bridge? Does that strike anyone else as horribly confusing?

I say this as someone who handles rotaries like they’re second nature.
The signage is confusing, but if you follow the lanes, it all actually kind of makes sense, and is probably indeed safer than the current free for all. Get in that lane, and you essentially do execute a left turn, without any merging conflicts at the other two spokes.
 

Equilibria

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The signage is confusing, but if you follow the lanes, it all actually kind of makes sense, and is probably indeed safer than the current free for all. Get in that lane, and you essentially do execute a left turn, without any merging conflicts at the other two spokes.
I think there are rotaries around the state that currently are signed that way. Sometimes you get a more complex pictogram where the arrow circles around a pinpoint to indicate what you're actually doing - they might do that here and their rendering software just doesn't have that icon available.

Also, to reiterate, I don't think they're keeping the rotary in the larger project.
 

DominusNovus

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The signage is confusing, but if you follow the lanes, it all actually kind of makes sense, and is probably indeed safer than the current free for all. Get in that lane, and you essentially do execute a left turn, without any merging conflicts at the other two spokes.
Yeah, the lanes make sense, but that signage for 'stay in this lane until the 3rd exit' is very non-intuitive. And I watch enough dashcam crash videos to know just how easily people can be confused by rotaries with confusing signage.
 

BosMaineiac

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Unfortunate news, but I can’t say I’m too surprised considering they announced $2.1B to four different states. Considering these bridges require a grant for almost that much… but why not announce more money to more states in the first round?
 

Treviot

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Do the feds ever post explanations for rejecting seemingly worthy projects?

I'd like to see the Corp come back with 4 lane bridges (instead of 6) paired with state commitments to increase rail service to address capacity rather than the additional lanes. That is definitely more aligned with current admin goals and should reduce cost considering the 2-3x cost increase from 2020. Would an approach like that be valuable to securing funds or is the connection too nebulous for the FHA?
 

Highwayguy

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I'd like to see the Corp come back with 4 lane bridges (instead of 6)
While im generally in the ‘less lanes’ camp (despite my username), Im OK with 6 on the bridges for two reasons:

The additional lanes under all alternatives will be Auxiliary lanes between the adjacent on and off ramps; think an extra long ‘weave’ lane at a cloverleaf. Both mainlines will remain 4 lanes on either side. While they will provide some additional capacity for trips between the successive exits, the main benefit is increased safety by reducing/ elongating the merge / diverge movements.

These bridges are Federal assets only necessitated by the Feds turning MA’s biggest tourist region into an island by digging a Federally owned canal that has little benefit to 21st century Massachusetts. After these new bridges are built, all future maintenance and replacement of the replacement bridges to cross this Federal asset will be the full responsibility of the Commonwealth, not a bad deal for Uncle Sam IMO. Because of that, I think its perfectly reasonable for the Feds to shell out for an additional lane for future-proofing, especially since in the as built condition the (marginal) capacity increase will mostly benefit local trips which would otherwise use local streets if the canal hadn’t severed them. If one thinks about it as a region of 200k permanent residents (not even counting vacationers) served by 12 lanes total, the Cape almost sounds car-lite.

I also agree with more rail service, which is also why l think the Feds should be replacing the lift bridge with a new, double track structure (Pretending for a moment we didn’t screw ourselves out of better service with SCR Phase 1).
 
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Treviot

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I understand the stated value of the additional lanes, but it seems like the feds have taken issue with the project (twice now?). Some combination of high cost and auto-centric planning seem like culprits (unless it's simply the feds not wanting to drop so much money on one project in this round of funding). I wonder if a little more creativity could garner more support (MA congressional delegation looking for transit win?).

I guess the state could never organize the FTA to pay for X transit project (CC RR bridge or SCR P2) to save the FHA Y money on the canal crossing.
 

millerm277

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I understand the stated value of the additional lanes, but it seems like the feds have taken issue with the project (twice now?). Some combination of high cost and auto-centric planning seem like culprits (unless it's simply the feds not wanting to drop so much money on one project in this round of funding). I wonder if a little more creativity could garner more support (MA congressional delegation looking for transit win?).

I guess the state could never organize the FTA to pay for X transit project (CC RR bridge or SCR P2) to save the FHA Y money on the canal crossing.
Bridge costs don't tend to scale linearly AFAIK. The difference in cost between building a 4 lane bridge vs a 6 lane bridge is not going to be 33%, but a much smaller fraction.

And in this case, that'd be even more true, because the proposed auxiliary travel lanes are a small portion of the drastically increased bridge width.

The current bridges are 48', with no shoulders, no median, 10ft lanes, a 5' sidewalk and a 2' sidewalk.

The proposed bridges look to be 138', an increase of 90' in width. But only ~24' of that is due to making it a 6 lane bridge. The rest is from the other 4 lanes being wider, proper shoulders, median, a protected 2-way bike lane, and full sidewalks.

If we're doing something that's going to be in place for many decades to come, doing it right makes sense. The current bridges (and their deficient interchanges/ramps) are a bottleneck on both ends, essentially limiting the utilization of the rest of the connecting infrastructure.

I suspect dropping the bridge to 4 lanes would look worse from a funding perspective - the reduction in the utility/claimed benefits of the project is greater than the reduction in costs.

-------------

Beyond this, while I think more rail service (and year-round) should absolutely be a priority - in part for the economic viability of the area and non-tourist residents, I also think it's unrealistic that it's ever going to serve more than a small fraction of Cape-bound tourists - mostly people either heading to the ferry to the islands and people meeting friends/family already out there with a car.

The rails can only get you to a very small portion of the Cape and the Cape has a more or less set in stone development pattern of largely single-family homes that are basically suburban subdivisions at the beach. Much of that is...never going to be very well served by any kind of transit - especially for kinds of trips tourists are making with their cars while *on* the Cape - grocery stores, restaurants, various tourist/recreational activities. The trips they need the car for while on vacation (not getting to the Cape, but while on the Cape) are too dispersed in time and geography.

Also - You don't usually go on vacation alone, or do things on vacation alone. I don't know if there's data on vehicle occupancy of tourists, but it's almost certainly far higher than it is in normal daily/commuter road use. Cars clearly still aren't great, but a fully occupied car is a much less terrible proposition than a single-occupancy one.
 

cneal

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Calling this a "bridge project" is inaccurate. The bulk of the $4 billion price tag is booked for highway expansions on nearby roadways – the new bridges make up a relatively small portion of what MassDOT is trying to fund here.

The bulk of the project costs in MassDOT's proposal are booked for adding one more lane on Route 6 south of the canal, multi-lane expansions of several 2-lane local streets like Sandwich Road, new highway interchanges, and even a new mile-long bypass road between Rt. 6 and Sandwich:

 

RandomWalk

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There is also probably some consideration given to political optics. Sending billions to blue areas won’t play well for the sound bite set.
 

Highwayguy

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Beyond this, while I think more rail service (and year-round) should absolutely be a priority - in part for the economic viability of the area and non-tourist residents, I also think it's unrealistic that it's ever going to serve more than a small fraction of Cape-bound tourists - mostly people either heading to the ferry to the islands and people meeting friends/family already out there with a car.

The rails can only get you to a very small portion of the Cape and the Cape has a more or less set in stone development pattern of largely single-family homes that are basically suburban subdivisions at the beach. Much of that is...never going to be very well served by any kind of transit - especially for kinds of trips tourists are making with their cars while *on* the Cape - grocery stores, restaurants, various tourist/recreational activities. The trips they need the car for while on vacation (not getting to the Cape, but while on the Cape) are too dispersed in time and geography.

Also - You don't usually go on vacation alone, or do things on vacation alone. I don't know if there's data on vehicle occupancy of tourists, but it's almost certainly far higher than it is in normal daily/commuter road use. Cars clearly still aren't great, but a fully occupied car is a much less terrible proposition than a single-occupancy one.
Which is why the abandonment of the line to Woods Hole pains me so much. A train to Hyannis doesn’t give a tourist (or resident) access to much of what the cape has to offer, but a train to the island ferry terminal becomes a much more attractive service by at least an order of magnitude.
 

jklo

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Which is why the abandonment of the line to Woods Hole pains me so much. A train to Hyannis doesn’t give a tourist (or resident) access to much of what the cape has to offer, but a train to the island ferry terminal becomes a much more attractive service by at least an order of magnitude.
There's a ferry in Hyannis. I'm sure it's a longer ride but there is one.
 

Charlie_mta

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There is also probably some consideration given to political optics. Sending billions to blue areas won’t play well for the sound bite set.
Also I'm guessing that the Feds' funding of projects in swing states buys them more votes than funding of projects in solid blue states, where they would be getting the votes anyway.
 

Treviot

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Bridge costs don't tend to scale linearly AFAIK. The difference in cost between building a 4 lane bridge vs a 6 lane bridge is not going to be 33%, but a much smaller fraction.

And in this case, that'd be even more true, because the proposed auxiliary travel lanes are a small portion of the drastically increased bridge width.

The current bridges are 48', with no shoulders, no median, 10ft lanes, a 5' sidewalk and a 2' sidewalk.

The proposed bridges look to be 138', an increase of 90' in width. But only ~24' of that is due to making it a 6 lane bridge. The rest is from the other 4 lanes being wider, proper shoulders, median, a protected 2-way bike lane, and full sidewalks.

If we're doing something that's going to be in place for many decades to come, doing it right makes sense. The current bridges (and their deficient interchanges/ramps) are a bottleneck on both ends, essentially limiting the utilization of the rest of the connecting infrastructure.

I suspect dropping the bridge to 4 lanes would look worse from a funding perspective - the reduction in the utility/claimed benefits of the project is greater than the reduction in costs.

-------------

Beyond this, while I think more rail service (and year-round) should absolutely be a priority - in part for the economic viability of the area and non-tourist residents, I also think it's unrealistic that it's ever going to serve more than a small fraction of Cape-bound tourists - mostly people either heading to the ferry to the islands and people meeting friends/family already out there with a car.

The rails can only get you to a very small portion of the Cape and the Cape has a more or less set in stone development pattern of largely single-family homes that are basically suburban subdivisions at the beach. Much of that is...never going to be very well served by any kind of transit - especially for kinds of trips tourists are making with their cars while *on* the Cape - grocery stores, restaurants, various tourist/recreational activities. The trips they need the car for while on vacation (not getting to the Cape, but while on the Cape) are too dispersed in time and geography.

Also - You don't usually go on vacation alone, or do things on vacation alone. I don't know if there's data on vehicle occupancy of tourists, but it's almost certainly far higher than it is in normal daily/commuter road use. Cars clearly still aren't great, but a fully occupied car is a much less terrible proposition than a single-occupancy one.
Thanks for the detailed response. I don't intend to argue the various lane count alternatives because the planners have hopefully considered them all seriously (even though I disagree with them). However, it's clear they proposed the most auto-centric, overbuilt solution that lacks any relevance to the state's current climate and transportation goals, let alone those in 10 years when these are built. This project reeks of "doing it wrong"; overbuilding highways to the detriment of any alternatives.

I hope that the funding rejection is in part due to some people at the FHA, the larger DOT overlords, or our congressional reps seeing the same dissonance. This is the root of my initial question; will we ever know *why* the funding was rejected? I'm also curious what the next steps are for funding (redesign, reapply, adjust technicalities?).
 

jklo

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Thanks for the detailed response. I don't intend to argue the various lane count alternatives because the planners have hopefully considered them all seriously (even though I disagree with them). However, it's clear they proposed the most auto-centric, overbuilt solution that lacks any relevance to the state's current climate and transportation goals, let alone those in 10 years when these are built. This project reeks of "doing it wrong"; overbuilding highways to the detriment of any alternatives.
I agree that's why it's being rejected. The Cape is what it is - very auto centric. There's no changing that. There's nothing to change with this proposal other than abandoning the project entirely.
 

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