NewEnglandTravelPlanner.com Logo   Cape Cod Canal
The man-made maritime short-cut between Boston and New York City was built to the delight of 20th-century ship captains and the consternation of 21st-century motorists.

by Tom Brosnahan
Travel Info Exchange

 

 

For centuries, mariners sailing between Boston and ports to the south had to circumnavigate Cape Cod, a long and tedious voyage (map).

In 1909, the US government undertook construction of the Cape Cod Canal, a broad waterway connecting Cape Cod Bay and Buzzards Bay.

By 1914 the new maritime road was open, and ships could sail (or steam) from Boston to New Bedford, Providence, New London and New York City in far less time, in far greater safety.

During the 1930s, the government built the two graceful bridges across the canal at Sagamore to the northeast and Bourne to the southwest, and the project was complete.

Within a few decades, the canal was far less important, as the bulk of coastal transport was by cars and trucks on modern highways, and airplanes in the sky above.

However, vehicular traffic to Cape Cod during the busy summer tourist season has increased to the point where the two 1930s bridges are woefully inadequate to meet the demands of the flood of cars. You can wait a frustratingly long time to cross the bridge at heavy-traffic times (Friday evening and Saturday morning going onto the cape, Sunday evening going off the cape).

You can avoid the traffic by taking the CapeFLYER trains between Boston and Hyannis on summer weekends. More...

If you see a bumpr sticker announcing the Cape Cod Canal Tunnel, you should know that this is only a dream—a mythical engineering feat that will alleviate all of Cape Cod's traffic woes. No such tunnel has been built, nor is it likely to be, and if it were, it would only increase congestion on the Cape. It's a joke!

Today the Cape Cod Canal is a convenience for recreational boaters, a short cut for some larger ships, and a beautiful man-made waterway with several small parks along its banks, perfect for enjoying a picnic on a summer evening, and sunset views.

As for the small campaign to fill in the Cape Cod Canal so that highways can easily extend to the Cape, it is a formula for assuring that every street on the Cape becomes part of New England's largest traffic jam.

You can board a Cape Cod Central Railroad train in Hyannis MA and take a rail excursion through the scenic countryside of Cape Cod to the Cape Cod Canal. More...



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Cape Cod Canal, Massachusetts

Above, Cape Cod Canal looking NE to
Sagamore Bridge
from US Route 6.

Below, a "permit" for the mythical
Cape Cod Canal Tunnel.

Cape Cod Canal Tunnel Sticker