Island motorists navigate new roundabout

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.