By Mark Snyder


National Grid’s Sagamore Line Reinforcement Project is coming to Sandwich.  It will include the installation of approximately 4.4 miles of 20” natural gas pipeline along Service Road in Sandwich.


The Sandwich Board of Selectmen unanimously voted on April 4, 2013 to “express its concerns,” which consisted of mostly safety issues on the heavily populated road. 28 homes along service road have a single driveway, and 69 homes only have a single street exit, so any incident could trap residents in their homes or subdivisions. 


In addition, the Board of Selectmen were concerned with Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital of Cape Cod, a 60-bed acute care rehabilitation facility with extensive outpatient services, and the McCarthy Care Center, a 10 bed hospice facility on Service Road.


National Grid sought and received approval in 2006 from the EFSB (Energy Facilities Siting Board) for the “reinforcement project”, which includes the installation of higher capacity natural gas lines in three separate project sections on Cape Cod, the western portion being located on Service Road.


The Selectmen had proposed alternate routes, such as Route 6, due to public safety issues.  That was rejected.  Town Manager Bud Dunham told Snyder’s Sandwich that the selectmen wanted the pipeline “to be laid north of the road, rather than under the road, which we had repaved.  We liked the proposal for a pathway as opposed to ripping up the road.  We also wanted the area they dug up to be paved over and made into a bike path or walking path.”


EFSB issued a decision approving the Notice of Project Change. National Grid has begun putting pink flags around the trees they wish to cut down.  They’ve also agreed to a re-planting plan.


The town’s superintendent of the Sandwich Water District, Daniel Mahoney, had asked that the pipeline be laid on the northern shoulder of the road, with at least ten feet separation from the District’s existing water main.  “This would help eliminate any prolonged interruption to water service or fire protection caused by such undermining,” Mahoney wrote in a letter to the Cape Cod Commission.

National Grid currently has two existing gas pipelines located on the southern shoulder of Service Road. According to Mahoney, “These existing pipelines, taken together with location of the new gas pipeline in close proximity to the District’s transmission pipeline, would further impede the District from providing maintenance, repairs, and future water service connections across Service Road.”


Mahoney also requested that a “strip of land along the north shoulder of Service Road, the centerline which would be set approximately five feet off the paved service and south of the Sandwich Hollows Golf Course, be reserved for future pipeline expansion by the District.”


It appears that the latest proposal by National Grid incorporated some of the suggestions of the Town.  But, is it safe?  That is the question.


Meanwhile, neighbors aren’t happy with any of this.   Nancy Crossman was the one who brought it to my attention.


Crossman, a member of the School Committee, but who is speaking only for herself, wrote, “There was a hearing with the EFSB at SHS in which many of us spoke, but tentative approval was still given. This Thursday, the final decision will be made (any guess as to the outcome?). My husband, Daryl, took days off from work to go to Boston for some hearings and State Rep. Randy Hunt acted as our intervener.”   This week, Crossman says, NGRID reps tagged trees and posted signs for a hearing 8/25 with the acting tree warden. That hearing is in the Human Resources Building.


She adds, “A ‘public’ hearing was held (by invitation only to those that lived within 300' of Service road) in October 2012. Residents Nancy and Curt Mann may have been the only ones in attendance as MANY of the abutters said they never received notification. It moved through the Cape Cod Commission who basically rubber stamped the new route even though many of us (now aware) attended and gave valid reasons for not allowing this route. We were cut off and not allowed to respond when NGRID with their zillions of lawyers and reps, could go on ad nauseum about their wonderful project. We suggested that the power hi-line was safer and they ignored us. The CCC gave approval with the Sandwich rep not even present.” Crossman invites residents to check out the "pink ribbons" on the trees that NGRID tagged.

I would suggest that residents show up at the Human Resources Building (on Quaker Meetinghouse Road) on the 25th and speak their minds. But, I've been through this before. If a utility says they need something for the "public good", they get what they want. And, the host community is usually the loser.


© 2014 by PMPNetwork, Inc.


Back to Snyder’s Sandwich site





The National Grid Signs
photo by mark snyder