Ah, the beauty of Cape Cod’s miles of coastline, the calming hues of a Cape sunset, and the unmistakable scent of…mini van fumes?? When you’re headed to Cape Cod for a vacation, the last thing you want to do is sit in traffic on the way to the Bourne or Sagamore Bridge. In the summer, between Memorial Day and Labor Day (some might say Columbus Day), you just might find yourself sitting in bridge traffic…sometimes for hours! Don’t worry, we’ve been there, and there’s a way to avoid bridge traffic (and it’s not the mythical cape cod canal tunnel).
The first thing you have to realize about Cape Cod is that there are only two bridges, and hundreds of thousands of cars using the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges. That means at certain times of the day, those peak travel times we mentioned between Memorial Day and Labor Day, traffic is practically inevitable. The good news is that the Sagamore Bridge Rotary is no more, and a much more efficient flyover has been built on Route 3 in Bourne. The bad news? You still might sit in traffic.
Now, how can you avoid Cape Cod bridge traffic all together? The secret answer (please, keep this a secret!) is to travel early, or travel late. When we say late, we mean after 10 pm. When we say early, we mean before 7 am. Do those times not work for your schedule? Try traveling between Monday and Thursday, provided Monday isn’t a holiday. These days usually have much, much less traffic.
There are also some shortcuts to avoid some of the bridge traffic. If you’re heading towards the Sagamore Bridge, getting off at Exit 2 and heading south on Route 3A. Following the signage, you will reach Route 3 again, just before the bridge, cutting off much of the traffic. The same can be done at the Bourne bridge by getting off at Exit 2, then following Route 6 – Route 28 to the Bourne Bridge rotary/interchange.
Looking for another way to avoid bridge traffic? The only other options are to fly into Barnstable Airport, or if you’re heades to Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket, take a ferry from New Bedford to the west of Cape Cod.
On your return trip, keep in mind everyone is headed over the bridges near hotel checkout time on Sunday, between 9am and up until 7pm (sometimes much later). Your best bet in those circumstances might just be to spend the extra day relaxing at the beach.