Thoughtful process leads to beautiful bridge

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To the Editor:

Last week my friend Doug and I decided to use our morning bike ride to head over and check out the new Lagoon Pond drawbridge. I know we have all been experiencing the building of this mega-project for over 10 years. From the start of construction of the temporary bridge back in 2003 to the final completion and dedication of the new permanent bridge this fall, we have all been subjected to many delays, some long, on our travels between Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven. Now that construction is finally over, we are able to enjoy a quick and scenic crossing, barring an opening for a vessel.
What I am sure most of us have not done, myself included until last week, is travel over and/or under this bridge on foot or bicycle. This is not just another structure to connect our road system. Thanks to a long and thoughtful planning process involving many of our friends and neighbors, a dialogue with the highway division of MassDOT developed, and culminated in a project offering multiple benefits.
Paths have been built down to a beautiful park on the Vineyard Haven side, and similar paths connect down to Eastville Beach on the Oak Bluffs side, with access under the bridge. The stonework under the bridge is almost as impressive as that on the operator’s tower that we all enjoy everyday. I could go on about how pleasantly surprised I am with the quality and thoughtful work that is so apparent on closer inspection.
My hope is that you all will be able to take the time to stop and experience for yourselves this successful public works project. In these turbulent political times when everyone has serious doubts about the effectiveness of government, it is reassuring to see that thoughtful and engaged people can help produce positive results. Many people were involved in making this happen, and deserve our thanks, but two that I know of deserve mention here. Mark London, former director of the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, and Melinda Loberg, representing the Lagoon Pond Association, and now a Tisbury selectman, worked tirelessly to keep the dialogue going so the end result came out in our favor. Congratulations and thank you!

Richard Toole
Oak Bluffs