Infrastructure Committee: Broadband in Hyannis and the Bridge Fix

At the August meeting, the Infrastructure Committee discussed progress on broadband in the Hyannis GIZ, and the Bridge Fix.

The Tech Council, the Town of Barnstable, the Hyannis Area Chamber, and other stakeholders are working to develop a strategy for providing a broadband infrastructure for downtown Hyannis. We discussed the potential for funding, the potential network (including a combination of wired and wireless robust service), the potential organizational structure for operation and maintenance, and potential benefits to the community from implementation.

The plans for broadband are not just for Main Street as it exists currently; it’s planning for the future and what businesses may come. Even businesses that don’t need high speed internet need a redundant and reliable connection.

One example shared by an Infrastructure Committee member of how the project could develop was the Centre for Strategic Innovation in Toronto:

There was an announcement that work on the Bourne bridge has been postponed until spring.

One committee member attended a DOT meeting earlier in the month. The Army Corps of Engineers is still deciding whether to repair or replace the bridges, and is in the final of three phases of the decision with another public comment period to come. They are projecting do the work done in 2025 – whether the work is repairing or replacing.
DOT is responsible for everything leading up to the bridges, while the Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for the bridges themselves. The 3A plan presumes that the Army Corps will replace the bridges, in close to the same place as the old bridges so new infrastructure will not be needed. It was noted that there is less environmental impact if construction stays within the same general location as existing bridges.

These plans are not about increasing the number of cars going on and off the Cape. They are about making sure there’s access with no weight restrictions, and an end to the increasing number of repairs/downtime for both bridges. Both bridges are 35 years past their planned expiration date.

On a recent program, NPR reported less friction between the two agencies. DOT is behind the idea of pushing the Corps to get this done, having heard loud and clear that people were unhappy during the last repair cycle.

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