Storm lashes Vineyard, East Chop Drive closed to vehicles

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In an attempt to curb East Chop drive erosion, Oak Bluffs selectmen voted to close the northbound lane between Brewster and Munroe avenues after Columbus Day. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

Oak Bluffs Fire Chief John Rose announced that East Chop Drive will be closed to vehicle traffic between Brewster Avenue and Monroe Avenue from 5 pm, Saturday until 7 am, Monday morning due to a storm that will bring high winds and rain to Martha’s Vineyard over the weekend.

The National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning now in effect until 5 pm, Sunday. Winds are predicted to blow 25 to 35 miles per hour out of the north with gusts up to 60 mph. The strongest gusts are expected late Saturday night into Sunday morning. Power lines, trees and tree limbs will likely be downed by these winds, according to the National Weather Service said.

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.