iStock photo

Saying she’s been advocating for funding for 10 years, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren sent letters to an array of people who depend on the 90-year-old bridges to and from Cape Cod asking them to round up information about how the federally owned and “functionally obsolete” spans are affecting their lives.

State officials have long been making the case for replacing the Bourne and Sagamore bridges but have so far been unable to lock in the federal funds they say are needed to significantly advance the projects.

In a new letter, Warren is calling on a series of elected state and local officials to answer a set of questions about impacts of the “crumbling” bridges and the benefits of replacing them. She asked for answers from state senators, representatives, town managers and others to be submitted to her office by Aug. 2.

The senator said replacing the bridges was one reason she supported the 2022 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that provided the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with $17.1 billion in new funding. The Biden administration awarded Massachusetts a $1.6 million planning grant for the bridges project in December and Biden has proposed $350 million for the bridges project in his fiscal 2024 budget proposal. The Senate Appropriations Committee voted Thursday to advance the administration’s request.

“This is very exciting and welcome news on a project that has been a top priority for our administration,” Gov. Maura Healey said in a statement Friday morning. “I am grateful to President [Joe] Biden, Senator Warren and Senator [Ed] Markey for their leadership in including this critical funding to move the Cape Cod Canal Bridges Project forward, invest in new infrastructure, and boost our regional economy. We will continue working closely with our local, state, and federal partners to see this project through.”

Inflation has driven up the project’s price tag, and officials said last year they now expect replacing both bridges to cost as much as nearly $4 billion. The most recent federal ratings deemed the Bourne Bridge “structurally deficient” and the Sagamore Bridge in “fair” condition. Both bridges have been deemed “functionally obsolete” due to the width of their driving lanes.

The bridges represent the sole access point for the more than 35 million vehicles that cross the Cape Cod Canal each year, according to Warren, and “serve as the gateway to Cape Cod for more than 260,000 Cape and Islands residents and roughly 5 million visitors annually.”

Warren Seeks Community Support for Cape Bridge Dollars

by State House News Service time to read: 2 min