Ribbon cut, questions persist on drawbridge


A host of dignitaries cut a ribbon for the ceremonial opening of the temporary Lagoon Pond drawbridge Friday. Among those attending were Mark Forest, chief of staff for Congressman William Delahunt, and Chris Adams, Cape and Islands representative for Mr. Delahunt. Also on hand were representatives from Dukes County, the Oak Bluffs selectmen, Mass Highway, the Lagoon Pond bridge committee, and the Martha’s Vineyard Commission.

Bridge committee chairman Melinda Loberg said she received generally good reviews for the bridge, which actually opened two days earlier. When asked how many times she has fielded questions about why two bridges are being built, she said “millions,” with a laugh.

“We said the same thing,” Ms. Loberg said, speaking of the committee. “We spent a year saying why can’t you build one bridge?” She said a temporary bridge was necessary because the old drawbridge was in such poor condition that the committee did not feel confident it would last until a new permanent bridge was built. If it failed, it could fail in the up position, or the U.S. Coast Guard could require the bridge to remain up for boat access to Lagoon Pond. That would force vehicle traffic to take long detours. “The Island couldn’t tolerate that,” Ms. Loberg said. “Maybe for a couple of weeks, not two years.”

The committee did not want to build the permanent bridge where the temporary bridge is now, because it would require sharp turns going on and off the structure.

Ms. Loberg said it is always a risk that state funds for construction of the permanent bridge could be pulled back, but she said money is budgeted for the project.

“They’ve assured us every step of the way,” Ms. Loberg said. “It’s a matter of trusting what they say, because there’s not much else you can do, and keeping the pressure on.”

Construction workers cut the old Lagoon Pond drawbridge into pieces small enough to be lifted by a heavy crane. The crews should begin removing the bridge parts today.