Cape Cod Canal Railroad Bridge

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Cape Cod Canal Railroad Bridge
Cape Cod Canal - Railroad Bridge.jpg
Cape Cod Canal Railroad Bridge in 2005
Coordinates41°44′31″N 70°36′49″W / 41.74194°N 70.61361°W / 41.74194; -70.61361Coordinates: 41°44′31″N 70°36′49″W / 41.74194°N 70.61361°W / 41.74194; -70.61361
CrossesCape Cod Canal
LocaleBourne, Massachusetts
Maintained byUnited States Army Corps of Engineers
DesignVertical lift bridge
Width27 feet (8.2 m)[1]
Height271 feet (83 m) (towers)[1]
Longest span544 feet (166 m)[1]
Clearance below135 feet (41 m) (raised)[1]
Construction startDecember 18, 1933[2]
OpenedDecember 29, 1935[2]

The Cape Cod Canal Railroad Bridge (also known as the Buzzards Bay Railroad Bridge), a vertical lift bridge in Bourne, Massachusetts near Buzzards Bay, carries railroad traffic across the Cape Cod Canal, connecting Cape Cod with the mainland.

Design and construction[edit]

The U.S. Navy frigate USS Underwood passing under the bridge

The bridge was constructed beginning in 1933 by the Public Works Administration from a design by firms Parsons, Klapp, Brinckerhoff, and Douglas as well as Mead and White (both of New York), for the United States Army Corps of Engineers, which operates both the bridge and the canal.

The bridge has a 544-foot (166 m) main span, with a 135-foot (41 m) clearance when raised,[1] uses 1,100-short-ton (1,000 t)[3] counterweights on each end, and opened on December 29, 1935.[2] The bridge replaced a bascule bridge that had been built in 1910.

At the time of its completion, it was the longest vertical lift span in the world.[4] It is now the second longest lift bridge in the United States, the longest being the Arthur Kill Vertical Lift Bridge between New Jersey and Staten Island, New York.

Maintenance and current use[edit]

Cape Cod canal railroad bridge opening

The bridge is owned, operated and maintained by the US Army Corps of Engineers. In 2002, the bridge underwent a major rehabilitation, including replacement of cables, machinery, and electrical systems, at a cost of $30 million and was reopened in 2003.

The rail line on either side of the bridge is owned by Massachusetts Department of Transportation, and is used year-round by the Massachusetts Coastal Railroad for their refuse trains and other freight operations. The bridge is also used by seasonal tourist trains operated by the Cape Cod Central Railroad, as well as the MBTA's seasonal CapeFLYER service, which runs between Boston and Hyannis.

See also[edit]


  • Cape Cod Canal Railroad Bridge at Structurae
  • Cape Cod Canal: Gateway to America’s Intracoastal Waterway. Cape Cod: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. c. 1985.
  1. ^ a b c d e 50th Anniversary Cape Cod Canal Bridges, Bourne, Massachusetts 1935-1985. Waltham, Massachusetts: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 1985. p. 4.
  2. ^ a b c Anniversary, p. 3
  3. ^ Cape Cod Canal, p.6
  4. ^ Anniversary, p. 2

Further reading[edit]

  • Reidy, Bill (1985). "Gateway to Cape Cod: Buzzards Bay Bridge". Shoreliner. Vol. 16, no. 2. New Haven Railroad Historical & Technical Association. pp. 12–33.

External links[edit]