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Cape Cod Canal Railroad Bridge facts for kids

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Cape Cod Canal Railroad Bridge
Cape Cod Canal - Railroad Bridge.jpg
Cape Cod Canal Railroad Bridge in 2005
Coordinates 41°44′31″N 70°36′49″W / 41.74194°N 70.61361°W / 41.74194; -70.61361
     Cape Cod Central Railroad     Mass Coastal Railroad
Crosses Cape Cod Canal
Locale Bourne, Massachusetts
Maintained by United States Army Corps of Engineers
Design Vertical lift bridge
Width 27 feet (8.2 m)
Height 271 feet (83 m) (towers)
Longest span 544 feet (166 m)
Clearance below 135 feet (41 m) (raised)
Construction begin December 18, 1933
Opened December 29, 1935

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

Underwood under Buzzards Bay Bridge
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, uses 1,100-short-ton (1,000 t) counterweights on each end, and opened on December 29, 1935. 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. 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

The bridge is owned, operated and maintained by the US Army Corps of Engineers. In 2002, the Cape Cod Canal Railroad 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 over the bridge is owned by MassDOT, and is used year-round by the Massachusetts Coastal Railroad for their refuse train 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, which runs between Boston and Hyannis.

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