The aim of this letter is to start a dialog that may someday lead to a new bridge from Woods Hole to Martha’s Vineyard (MV). The source material is based primarily on a MV Commission Energy Report and an MVTimes post, Bridge to Vineyard May Be Too Far, 2014.
By integrating a natural gas pipeline with a bridge, the use of fuel oil on MV would be replaced, reducing GHG markedly. All the oil tanks could be removed. The use of propane could also be reduced along with GHG emissions from the trucks needed to supply the compressed and liquified petroleum gas. Electric power demand is increasing and an added undersea cable is planned, but a plan for a backup battery storage capacity was dropped. A bridge eases the logistics to quickly repair a power outage. Per capita energy consumption can be reduced by investments to upgrade the construction and quality of insulation in homes. A bridge would provide an incentive to owners, as there would be a stronger demand for year around use, and for winter rentals. There are about 15,000 homes on MV, but only about half are year round. With a bridge it could take as little as 10 minutes to commute to the Cape.
Without the need for trucking fuel oil and propane, traffic congestion and noise would be reduced but freight demand is increasing. In the world of E-commerce we want next day delivery, a bridge would facilitate this. MV ships about 33,000 tons of trash per year to the incinerator in Rochester via ferry and Cape Cod; a bridge would speed this up and lower the cost.
The bridge would have a big impact on the Cape, reducing congestion in Woods Hole and eliminating parking lots for travelers to MV. Thinking ahead, with the proposed new Canal bridges, a Martha’s Vineyard bridge would offset the prospects of even more congestion and complete a fast link between the Island and the mainland.
There needs to be a long road of dialog, facts and figures, and legislation to get that bridge.