Cuttyhunk Trip: the New Bedford Hurricane Barrier

We had to go to New Bedford to get to Cuttyhunk. For Cuttyhunkers, their link to the mainland is via New Bedford.

Vineyarders don’t go to New Bedford nearly as much as they did fifty or a hundred or two hundred years ago. Before automobiles were invented, and before highways metastasized over the land, the sea was the Islander’s highway, and New Bedford was our nearest trading city. Old Vineyard newspapers always had plenty of advertisements from New Bedford merchants. Nowadays, it’s easier to get to Boston than it is to get to New Bedford. Open up a Vineyard Gazette or Martha’s Vineyard Times of today, and you’ll no longer see ads from New Bedford. Woods Hole is our port now, and our land travel is by car.

To leave New Bedford’s harbor for a trip to Cuttyhunk, you must pass through a large, “wonder-of-the-world” sized hurricane barrier.


Approaching the barrier from the harbor side.

Massive concrete structures house the gates that swing shut during high water events.


These are the hinges upon which the gates turn.


The two gates are said to have enough steel to build a battleship.

The gates and barrier were completed in 1966, after four years of construction.


Imagine how that curved wall might throw back large swell from the south!

Cost? Nineteen million dollars.

Money was still worth something, back then.

New Bedford’s still-large fishing fleet passes through these gates.


A subterranean tunnel connects the New Bedford and Fairhaven sides of the gate structures. Here’s a video, with what today would be “over the top”, scenery chewing narration.

Homeward bound!


This boat’s masts will soon join New Bedford’s dockside forest.


New Bedford’s Harbor is a fascinating place.

We’ll come back soon, for another visit.




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