Island motorists navigate new roundabout

Island motorists navigate new roundabout

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Drivers navigated around the roundabout on Wednesday morning as work proceeded. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

After ten years of planning, several public hearings, countless hours of controversy, lawsuits, bruised feelings, and a month of construction, drivers began rounding the new Roundabout Tuesday.

Construction crews completed a base coat of asphalt, and motorists began to adapt to the curving passage through the intersection of Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road and Barnes Road.

At about 4:30 pm Tuesday evening, there were no delays in any direction.

“The actual asphalt is in place,” Oak Bluffs highway superintendent Richard Combra Jr., told selectmen at their Tuesday meeting. “I witnessed a lot of big trucks go through there today, it all worked fine. There wasn’t anything backed up, it was flowing through. Yesterday was the worst day of construction, paving that circle and moving traffic through there.”

Selectmen briefly discussed the possibility of altering the planned schedule to finish all work this spring, a plan that would extend construction at least into late June.

They decided, however, to stick to the initial schedule, which calls for the work crews to finish all paving, bus stops, sidewalks, and bike paths by Memorial Day, then take a break for the summer. They are to return after Labor Day to complete landscaping and finish the project.

Selectman Greg Coogan said he got an inquiry from organizers of the Possible Dreams auction, who asked whether they might auction off the “Blinker” lights removed from the intersection at their event this summer.

Mr. Combra said one of the lights removed is a modern device that could be used elsewhere in town. The other, he said is an antique, and might be well suited for donation to the Possible Dreams auction.


  1. No sense in finishing until the real test in July and August comes. All this rhetoric that it works fine means nothing right now. It was already working fine.

        1. yes!but they’er not all going through the roundabout and even if they do,it will be no problem,we know how to fix our traffic in OB. your town doesn’t,OH! I’ve got an idea,lets get a non binding vote and stop this!!

          1. Time will tell..Id rather have an update on the Shifter house…July is months away.

      1. aha , it’s the High School that causes the backups,not the additional 70K visitors, how interesting!

        1. yes,twice a day the school causes backups,and the 70,000 visitors do not all use that intersection,but now they could

  2. Didn’t everyone see in the video all of the cars and trucks piled up on the sides? It’s an obvious failure!

    1. LOL,that’s all I heard all day on the scanner were calls for EMTs,police and wreckers,these antis were right,this thing will not work!!!

      1. I’m not sure anyone for or against the roundabout thought about it in terms of April traffic. Listen to that scanner in July/August.

  3. I grew up in Oak Bluffs, and I now live on the Cape in Bourne and I have to go through a few rotaries daily, big deal Islanders?! Learn to drive better! if you can’t navigate a little roundabout what do you do when you’re heading to Boston? Swim the canal? quit complaining and do what i know islanders never can, adapt and embrace something new.

    1. From recent news articles….1) “Two people were injured, one seriously in a motorcycle crash in Bourne. The crash happened at the Bourne Rotary by the IHOP”, 2) “firefighters remove an accident victim from the scene of a single vehicle accident at the Bourne Rotary”, 3) “at the Bourne Rotary tonight when the male driver of an SUV crashed”, 4) “A MedFlight helicopter landed on the Otis Rotary in Bourne “, 5) ” Brockton man was seriously injured in a three-car crash at the Bourne Rotary”, 6) ” elderly Hingham man injured in a one-car accident at the Bourne Rotary”, 7) “overturned his mini-sport utility vehicle in the Bourne rotary” . 8) ” two vehicle accident involving a sports car and a truck at the Otis Rotary in Bourne”…… goes on and on and on. Guess your Cape buddies need to learn to drive better as well!!!

      1. you failed to mention any major accidents at any of the roundabouts on the cape,is it because there are none(accidents) or you don’t know the differance between a roundabout and a rotory or where the roundabouts are?also these rotories you mention see more traffic in an hour that the little roundabout here will see in a week.(give it up)

          1. is this the best you can come up with?you can’t answer a simple question so you feel the need to attact me,people who do this”speaks volumes on your view”

      2. recent news??? most of it is 2,3 and 4 years old,you never mentioned the fatally at the blinker a few years ago,lets keep it real.
        I went through the roundabout today,twice and even with the work going on,it is easier than the old 4 way,4 ways are being replaced with roundabouts all over,because they’re SAFER!!!

        1. When was the fatality at the blinker?? Cite a reference from any study that supports your contention that roundabouts are safer than a four way stop. Please, I’d love to see your information.

          1. we have been beating that horse for years.. there have been numerous studies cited.. look them up yourself… you can try a site called “google”

            there was never a fatality at the blinker that I have heard of..

          2. I was just thinking that if you and and another 10,000 or 15,000 people like you didn’t move here,we wouldn’t need this roundabout,so as I see it,you’re the cause not the cure,CITE a reference that I’m wrong!!!

        2. The moped rider was hit at the blinker in 2003. Right after that the stop signs went up. No problem since. I hope another moped rider doesnt get hit after this free for all is finished. I cant find the fatality, must have been b4 the internet.

      3. is that “recent” news from this century ? And perhaps all these crashes that you speak of will get people to actually pay attention when they drive..

  4. This means it will be quicker for traffic to get to the Triangle in EDG and also to Edg Road & State Road!
    My guess is that Aug traffic will be backed up from The Square Rigger to Mahoney’s & backed up to Norton’s Farm on Edg Road from State Road and it might even get back to the Blinker when there are a dozen car pile up!!

    1. Yep, people are going to fly through the roundabout at high speed and sling shot into huge accidents miles away.

    2. whatever did we do when there was just a flashing light there, and traffic went through at 45 mph ? This is clearly the least logical argument against the roundabout

      1. don’t confuse them with facts their mind is made up,even though they don’t know what a roundabout is and until now have never seen one,they’ve all become engineers and experts in traffic.
        EDG. after filing a lawsuit last year over this,is now got one on the drawing board for the near future,VH.loves traffic jams and will never do anything to fix it

  5. Maybe the police or registry could post in the newspaper the rules about a “yield sign”
    I don’t remember it meaning: don’t stop or slow down, just plow ahead. You should not have to stop in the middle of the roundabout because someone can’t wait a few seconds for the traffic to open. Just my opinion.

    1. motorist entering the rotary have to yield to traffic in the rotary.. Please tell me what is so difficult ? It does not mean stop… If you have to stop , you do of course, but it means you are supposed to blend with moving traffic.

      Do you have a drivers license ?

  6. To reiterate,
    Modern roundabouts are the safest form of intersection in the world. Visit for FAQs and safety facts.
    To any of the 99’s, unless you provide a link in support, I can regard your ‘facts’ as just opinions. All-way stops and modern roundabouts have similar crash histories. The reason to choose modern roundabouts is delay. Why infringe on a person’s right to travel when there is no need to? Most of the day a modern roundabout will have no measurable stops. At a stop sign you always have to stop, every time, no exceptions.

    1. and while it may seem like a little thing, I have posted here before that this one roundabout will save about 10,000 gallons of fuel a year..

      1. Don – Can you tell me how many gallons will be used in the added traffic jams at the stop signs at the each end of the Vineyard haven rd. Remember , you will get to the traffic jams at each end faster than you did before. Just to wait there.

        1. why, are they increasing the speed limits?this has all been studied,you must remember that half the cars didn’t stop at the now old 4 way so I can’t see any change

        1. the average 4,000 pound car and driver uses about 2 teaspoons of gas to go from 0 to 20 mph ( convert gallons to btu’s to ft pounds– not taking into account the stomp on the petal factor) –768 teaspoons to a gallon —every 384 vehicles uses a gallon.. 10,513 cars a day will use 10,000 gallons a year. wasted gas during idling time not included. Actual number is likely closer to 30,000 gallons, but I am using “conservative” estimates for every factor.

    2. The stop signs went in 2003, thats 9 years without an accident. match that and Ill say it was a good idea. Ill be around in 9 yrs..

      1. just where did you get that no accidents in 9 years,it happens all the time,not serious ones but fenderbenders all the time,very few are reported because most of the people involved are uninsured and unlicenced.
        have you ever been through this intersection or know where it is,try it now,it’s a breeze now even a Boston sports fan could even navigate it,well maybe with a little help!!

        1. Like scott I need evidence. It was a breeze before except now someone in front of me might decide to use their brakes for no reason.

          1. perhaps if you are not drunk, blind, or texting you will be able to stop before you run into them. People hit their brakes for no reason all the time..

        2. you really make yourself sound a bit silly when you say that most accidents are not reported — again, i appeal to you to make rational points, not based on some biased unfounded opinion..

    3. NCHRP Report 672 which states “there is no
      statistical change in safety between a four way stop intersection and a
      Now if you were bright enough to explore this FACT further you would find out this statement is based upon the Fact that it’s incredibly rare to substitute a roundabout at a four way stop. It never happens because a four way stop is considered the safest option. There has NEVER been a serious accident at this intersection since it was changed to a four way stop. That will surely change. The OB selectmen will have blood on their hands.

  7. We had a roundabout added to a major thoroughfare during the peak of summer tourism here in NZ. It was started and finished within three weeks (including some lovely landscaping). It is one of many local roundabouts, and as planned, it has eased traffic congestion and improved traffic flow in all directions. I’m a cyclist who commutes to work (through a minimum of three roundabouts). The only close calls I have had (riding or driving) are at the intersections where no roundabout is present. I was born and lived on MV for most of my life, so I get the argument about change, but in my experience change can be quite good.

    1. I don’t like the MV Times policy of anonymous posting… I just couldn’t figure out how to change my screen name. This is from Ezra Newick, formerly from Aquinnah, now in New Zealand.

  8. I didn’t hear a blinker being used in that video. Pretty sure that one is supposed to signal when leaving the roundabout, just like a rotary. Not that I think anyone will actually do it.

      1. Not really. The car radio wasn’t on in the video, you would hear the the blinker if it was on. So have you seen anyone using their signals at the roundabout? I haven’t.

        1. don’t you know that it is illegal to use turn signals on MV.and if you do use them,make sure you use them improperly,like turn them on after you’ve started to turn or turn on your right signal if you’re going straight by the hospital and don’t turn em left if you’re turning to go by the state police barracks and never,never use them at the end of county rd. and eastville ave.

  9. what about all the things that all the antis said would happen with the costruction of this,like over 200 trees being cut,all I see is trees being protected,at least 3 years of construction and traffic tie ups,gonna take less than 3 months(told ya so)lets not forget that large trucks can’t get through(they did even with work going on)guess someone needs to get some truck driving lessons or maybe make a new video of how real truckers do it,the list goes on and on and yet there is still over 60 comments here and most still ranting how it will not work even though it is as we speak(GET OVER IT!!)

    1. Hey no fair the police are still there directing traffic. Wait till everyone goes away.

  10. The difference is size. ObKid thinks they are the same. The difference does not affect the crash scenario, especially when coupled with an adjacent bike path. The facts ( which are ignored by many uninformed islanders) are that roundabouts are very dangerous compared to a 4 way stop. Add in a bike path used by thousands each season which crosses the intersection as vehicles are accelerating out of the roundabout and it’s a recipe for disaster. I don’t look forward to the day when “I told you so”.

  11. if you go through the bourne rotary, you have a chance to be stupid, and go from the inner lane , cross a lane of traffic on the assumption that the idiot on the outer lane is going to exit the rotary, and run into him..
    countless statistics about the safety of roundabouts have been posted here.. how about looking up some facts.

  12. Please dont distract anyone driving thru this. I think its better to have a line of sight in case someone decides not to yield and cuts you off.

  13. A statue? Now, there’s an idea worth exploring. How about one of Chris Murphy? Anything after that would be left up to fate.