Cape Cod Canal and bridges
Cape Cod Canal and bridges
January 1910: The first excavation work on the proposed Cape Cod Canal began on the Scusset marshes at a point about a half mile from the shores of Cape Cod Bay. The steam excavator, seen in the distance, that began the work was brought there in sections and it required more than a month to set up the big machine.
July 29, 1914: Nantasket steamer Rose Standish trekked through the Cape Cod Canal from the Buzzards Bay end and out into Cape Cod Bay to celebrate the opening of the canal.
Dec. 31, 1926: The Bourne Highway Bridge over the Cape Cod Canal opened in May 1911. The limitations of the narrow horizontal and vertical clearance — even with the sides in the upright position — made navigation challenging. It was the site of frequent ship collisions. On June 23, 1935, the new Bourne Bridge opened and the old Sagamore bridge continued in use until midnight of the same day. Work of razing the old bridges began the next morning.
June 23, 1935: More than 30,000 automobiles traversed the great new Cape Cod Canal highway bridges on the opening of the new four-lane highways. A crowd of 100,000 witnessed the bridge dedication and parade. Hundreds of curious sightseers crossed the new structures on the wide five-foot sidewalk. This picture shows cars going across the Bourne Bridge as seen from the south.
Sept. 20, 1935: Work neared completion on the new railroad bridge over the Cape Cod Canal. The bridge weighed 2,000 tons and carried a single rail track. At the time of its opening on Dec. 29, 1935, the new bridge had the longest span of any vertical lift bridge in the United States. This span of 544 feet hung suspended from the two 265-foot-tall towers, with its lower rail 135 feet above the canal at low tide. When a train crosses, the span is lowered into place. At all other times, it hangs high above the waterway permitting ships to pass through.
July 21, 1943: An emergency crew of 75 men worked on the Buzzards Bay railroad bridge after an oil barge bound from Boston to Bridgeport with 4,500 gallons of gasoline rammed the bridge side-on to lift the whole structure several inches. The oil barge signaled for the draw just about dawn. When the bridge did not open on signal, the barge could not stop against the current and rammed the truss. The failure of the draw to open was blamed on excavation for the new railroad bridge across the canal, which caused some slight settling of the old bridge.
May 28, 1970: Bridge painting freshened up the Sagamore Bridge for the upcoming summer season. While the worker in the foreground hung from a precarious looking pulley system, the man in the background appeared unattached as he worked high over the passing traffic underneath. The boys and their dogs made their way on the less busy side of the roadway.
July 15, 1972: Driven by the heat to the cooler climate of Cape Cod, motorists paid their dues in the traditional traffic jam as the Cape beckoned beyond the Sagamore Bridge. New England had just experienced its hottest week of the year and there was no relief in sight with temperatures in the 90s expected to continue. Nine miles of traffic were backed up on Route 3 by mid-afternoon.
June 24, 1980: Twelve-foot-high fences designed to discourage suicides were erected during the summer along both sides of the Bourne Bridge over the Cape Cod Canal. Similar work was done on the Sagamore Bridge. From the time police began keeping records of suicides in 1963 until the fences’ construction in 1980, 53 people had jumped to their deaths from the bridges, 70 others had threatened to leap, and eight had survived suicide attempts. Signs saying "Need someone to talk to?" with the Samaritans' phone numbers were placed at the ends of both the bridges and emergency telephone booths were at nearby rest areas.