Powder Point Bridge TIP request letter

Rep. Cutler and his colleagues submitted the following request to MassDOT to request inclusion in the state’s Transportation Improvement Program, which unlocks federal transportation funding to help repair this historic bridge. (Copy of letter posted as PDF below)

Jonathan Gulliver, Highway Administrator
Massachusetts Department of Transportation
10 Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116

Dear Administrator Gulliver,

RE: Request to add Powder Point Bridge (Duxbury) to Transportation Improvement Program

First opened in 1892, the Powder Point Bridge is an historical landmark that serves thousands of Massachusetts residents annually and provides vital recreational and public safety access to Duxbury Beach and Saquish. Measuring at 2,200 feet, Power Point Bridge is considered one of the longest wooden bridges in the country.

Ownership of the bridge was transferred to the town of Duxbury in 1941 and since that time the town has made significant investments to ensure safety and protect access. Following a closure in 1985, the town appropriated $3 million to reconstruct the bridge and replicate its historic wooden features, while improving pedestrian and wheelchair access.

Currently, the bridge is considered structurally deficient and in need of repair. The bridge has an approximate load capacity of four tons, far below the tonnage of an average fire engine. Large public safety vehicles are required to enter from the only other access point in the neighboring town of Marshfield, adding to the time required to respond public safety calls.

The town has been a good steward of the bridge, but now needs assistance from the Commonwealth. Accordingly, we respectfully request that the Powder Point Bridge be added to the state’s Transportation Improvement Program for the next available year of eligibility.

We would also like to take this opportunity to express our strong view that any design process must respect its historical significance as a wooden bridge and ensure ample opportunity for robust public input.

Some bridges are just elevated roadways that connect people from point A to Point B. Then there are iconic structures like the Powder Point Bridge that are far more historically significant.

Over the course of its rich history, the much-photographed Powder Point Bridge has been listed in the Guinness Book of World Records, featured in Hollywood blockbusters, and been the site of weddings and burials. This landmark bridge is truly a treasure for the entire South Shore and the Commonwealth and future iterations should reflect and honor that legacy.

We respectfully request that MassDOT work with the town of Duxbury as soon as feasible to allow for adequate time for public input, and to ensure that the Powder Point bridge be placed on the Transportation Improvement Program list as soon as possible.

Should you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to any of our offices.

Rep. Josh S. Cutler
Sixth Plymouth District

Rep. Kathleen LaNatra
12th Plymouth District 

Sen. Patrick M. O’Connor
Plymouth & Norfolk District                                

Powder Point Bridge TIP request