Chappy ferry slip repairs will halt vehicle service one week in April

The Chappy ferry will be out of commission for vehicles on Sunday while repairs are made. — File photo

The Chappy Ferry, which provides daily vehicle and passenger service across Edgartown Harbor, will be able to transport only passengers for one week, from April 17 to April 24, while the vehicle access ramp on the Chappaquiddick side is removed and repaired.

Edgartown selectmen Monday approved a request from Chappy Ferry owner Peter Wells to complete the work in April.

“There is, of course, never an ideal time for such a project,” Mr. Wells said in a prepared statement he read at the regular weekly meeting. He said those dates were chosen because they are during the school spring vacation, when ferry traffic would be lower than normal.

Mr. Wells assured selectmen that procedures were already in place to handle any emergencies that might arise while vehicles are unable to make the crossing to and from Chappy.

“Whenever we think the ferry isn’t going to run, we put an ambulance on Chappaquiddick,” Mr. Wells told selectmen. He said if someone needed medical care, an ambulance would back up into the slip on the Chappy side so the individual could be transported by ferry to a waiting ambulance on the other side.

“We will notify ferry users, town departments, and utility companies by all possible means so that they can make arrangements,” he said. “The barrier beach route between Chappaquiddick Island and Martha’s Vineyard Island will likely be driveable during that time.”

Mr. Wells was referring to county-owned Norton Point Beach, a narrow two-mile ribbon of sand that provides access by way of Katama to Chappaquiddick for four-wheel-drive vehicles.

The Trustees of Reservations is responsible for the beach. Superintendent Chris Kennedy told The Times in a phone conversation that the beach sticker requirement would be waived during the week that the ferry is not shuttling cars. He emphasized, however, that drivers will be crossing at their own risk.