Shifting lanes on the Cape Cod bridges: Healey says new plan will prioritize Sagamore replacement

The Sagamore Bridge on June 10, 2016. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
The Sagamore Bridge on June 10, 2016. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

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This week kicked off with a storm of news, from another Donald Trump indictment to an Eataly lawsuit over slippery meat.

Remember to watch your step. Now, to the news:

What’s better than two new Cape Cod bridges? Apparently, just one (at least, initially). Gov. Maura Healey is switching up the strategy for replacing the two 88-year-old spans over the Cape Cod Canal, prioritizing the new Sagamore Bridge first (that’s the one that links up with Route 3) and finishing the Bourne Bridge later. Given the size and cost of the project, Healey’s office says the phased approach is a better bet than replacing both bridges at the same time, amid struggles to score crucial federal funding.

  • The timeline: If all goes well — always a big if! — Healey’s office hopes to begin work on the new Sagamore bridge in 2028. Construction is expected to take until 2035 or 2036 to finish.
  • As for the Bourne: Healey’s office says they’re still seeking funds for the Bourne Bridge. In the interim, they’ll move forward with the permitting and design of both bridges. A Healey spokesperson said work on the Bourne replacement could start as soon as 2029.
  • Why are they prioritizing the Sagamore? Healey’s office says the Sagamore currently sees more traffic and crashes. The bridge also brings drivers directly onto Route 6, which the state says is vital for the Cape’s economic viability.
  • What Healey’s saying: The two bridges were a major focus of Healey’s trips to Washington, D.C., this past winter, after the feds rejected two massive grant applications to help cover the costs of the project. “Last year, we pursued an application that was dead on arrival,” she told The Boston Globe, which first reported the new focus Monday. “We didn’t want to repeat the same practice.”
  • Next steps: Within the next week, the state plans to apply for $1.45 billion in federal funds for the Sagamore replacement. (The total cost of replacing both bridges is now pegged at $4.5 billion.) Healey said in a statement the approach will “enable us to get shovels in the ground quickly on the Sagamore Bridge,” while laying “the groundwork for rebuilding the Bourne Bridge.”

Meanwhile on the Cape: Bourne residents on the south side of the canal are being told to boil their water until further notice, after the town found E. coli in their drinking water. That means any water used for drinking, cooking, brushing teeth, washing dishes or any sort of food prep should be boiled at least once before being used.

In other bridge-related news: The Carlton Street Footbridge — which crosses over the Green Line in The Riverway — opened over the weekend for the first time in 46 years following a long, drawn-out political battle. WBUR contributor Alex Ashlock has photos of the restored bridge here.

PSA: An estimated 50,000 people in Massachusetts are newly eligible for low-cost health insurance beginning next year. That’s because a two-year pilot has expanded the state’s ConnectorCare program. The state-subsidized plan is intended for people who don’t have access to affordable health insurance through work, but also are not eligible for MassHealth or Medicare health care.

  • Are you eligible? The new pilot raises ConnectorCare income limits from 300% of the federal poverty level to 500%. That means you could make up to $72,900 a year if you’re single — or up to $150,00 a year if you’re part of a family of four.

Calling it a career: David Krejci is retiring from the NHL after a total of 16 seasons with Bruins. The 37-year-old center announced his decision with a lengthy thank you statement posted on the Bruins’ social media accounts.

P.S.— It’s official: Dunkin’s new line of spiked iced coffees and iced teas will be available at grocery and liquor stores in 12 states beginning in late August (and yes, that includes Massachusetts). You can read more about the flavors and details here.


Nik DeCosta-Klipa Newsletter Editor
Nik DeCosta-Klipa is the newsletter editor for WBUR.



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