October Infrastructure Committee: bridge replacement & shark remediation

At its October meeting, the Infrastructure Committee discussed the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Draft Major Rehabilitation Evaluation Report, Cape Cod Canal Highway Bridges (MRER). The Cape Cod Technology Council (“CCTC”) is a member of the Coalition for the Fix which has advocated for the replacement of the Bourne and Sagamore bridges, which are rated “structurally deficient” or “functionally obsolete” and qualify for replacement under federal guidelines.

The CCTC supports the MRER recommendation that “providing two new highway bridges would be the most effective means of providing safe and reliable crossings”. The complete recommendation is available at www.nae.usace.army.mil. The detailed analysis contained in the MRER demonstrates that this recommendation is superior to the range of options considered. The CCTC understands that any delay in decision-making could vastly increase the costs of the project by forcing the USACE to pursue major rehabilitation instead of bridge replacement. Accordingly, the CCTC supports the expeditious implementation of the MRER recommendation and will submit a comment and testimony in support of the recommendation.

The recommendation is subject to public hearings, which interested parties are encouraged to attend. There is a link on the USACE webpage with a list of hearing dates.

There is also a form on the webpage to submit a comment regarding the Cape Cod Canal Highway Bridges Major Rehabilitation. Individual Tech Council members are encouraged to submit their own comments, in addition to any action the Tech Council takes as an organization. The deadline for submitting comments is November 1, 2019.

Members of the committee shared their hope that the conversation on the bridge replacement would include technology and implementation, but the committee agreed it was most important to make sure the funding is in place, or these more in-depth conversations will not happen. Committee members hope we will have the opportunity to add to the conversation as we move forward. It is also the committee’s hope that the Tech Council will continue its support for the bridge replacement.

Municipal broadband update:
The Infrastructure Committee’s broadband sub-committee has drafted a revised broadband guide. In researching existing resources and documented experience, the subcommittee found communities similar to the Cape have a tremendous amount of information on the web. The challenge is sorting through all the available information and compiling it into a useful document that continues to evolve, providing not only success stories, but offering funding options as well.

Once the sub-committee has a document, they will be looking for ways to reach out to towns. One idea is to train a small group of people who can work with multiple communities that have an interest but don’t know where to start. The sub-committee noted that it’s helpful when a handful of people who have ties and expertise can move the project along. Any document will be submitted to the CCTC Board for review prior to publication.

Shark remediation update
Woods Hole Group released their study on shark safety. The bottom line of the report is that modifying human behavior is the best approach, specifically rejecting culling the seal population. At the time of our meeting the Wall St. Journal and Boston papers had reported on the Woods Hole Group study.

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