Oak Bluffs public safety officials will close East Chop Drive

In anticipation of heavy rains, the road that winds along East Chop bluff will be closed from 6 pm, Friday to 4 pm, Saturday.

File photo by Nelson Sigelman

Oak Bluffs public safety officials plan to close East Chop Drive from Monroe Avenue to Brewster Avenue, beginning at 6 pm, July 4th until 4 pm, July 5th. That section of the roadway is already reduced to one lane to protect the eroding coastal bank.

The crumbling corniche that wraps around East Chop bluffs and overlooks Nantucket Sound has a long history of erosion-related closures. It was closed for two years after hurricane Bob in 1991. The seaward lane was closed in November 2012 as a result of erosion from Superstorm Sandy. Three months later, winter storm Nemo caused damage that closed the road entirely for two weeks. One lane remained closed until late June of 2013, when it was reopened to reduce traffic on the alternate routes that cut through residential areas of East Chop.

Hurricane Arthur, the first named storm of the summer season, is moving quickly up the east coast, and is expected to bring heavy rain to Martha’s Vineyard beginning Friday evening, July 4th. The storm could dump 2 to 4 inches of rain on the region in 24 hours, producing flash flooding in some areas and severe erosion.

The weather service calculates a 30 to 40 percent chance the Island could experience tropical storm conditions, with sustained winds higher than 39 miles per hour. While the National Hurricane Center predicts the storm will be losing strength by the time it brushes Cape Cod and the Islands late Friday Evening, Arthur will still be rated as a hurricane, with winds greater than 74 miles per hour near the eye of the storm.