Bigger bridges, bigger traffic

The Bourne Bridge and the Cape Cod Railroad Bridge in the sunset.

The Bourne Bridge and the Cape Cod Railroad Bridge in the sunset.

From Robert Whitcomb’s “Digital Diary’’ in

The Feds are considering replacing, in the next few years, the two highway bridges – the Bourne and Sagamore (there’s also a quaint railroad bridge) over the Cape Cod Canal, necessitating mini-Big Dig construction on the approaches on each side of the canal. Each new bridge would, as with the bridges now, have two lanes in each direction, but with an additional lane at each end to, it is hoped, ease merging.

Prepare for massive summer traffic jams during construction, when, you’d hope, the two existing bridges, built in the Depression, would continue to be open.

But get ready for even bigger summer traffic jams than now after the “improvements’’. Highway expansions quickly serve to lure more traffic, in a variant of Parkinson’s law: Expenditure rises to meet income. The fragile, eroding, increasingly suburbanized giant sandbar will get chewed up even more by development. And officials of its towns will probably feel compelled to widen local roads to deal with more cars coming over the bridges.

Far better if a lot of people could travel to and from the Cape by train. And how about, for example, trains to take people to Woods Hole and Hyannis to meet the ferries to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard?