Town Reconsiders Taking Ownership of East Chop Bluff

Oak Bluffs was recently denied FEMA funding for repairs, in part because the majority of the bluff is owned by the East Chop Association. The road is owned by the town.

East Chop Drive Under Pressure

The scenic rural roadway hugs the long stretch of bluff jutting into Nantucket Sound beyond the Oak Bluffs harbor before falling sharply to sea level as it curves around Crystal Lake, eventually reconnecting with Eastville avenue.

Erosion-Threatened East Chop Drive Traffic Curbed for Winter

The Oak Bluffs selectmen voted Tuesday to restrict traffic on East Chop Drive to one lane this winter out of concern for the unstable condition of the eroding bluff beneath the road. The vote came as the town continues to wrangle for funding to fix the bluff, and as East Chop residents press for a complete closure of the road this winter.

Erosion Damage to East Chop Drive Creates Hard Choices

With storm season on the way and East Chop Drive in a compromised state, the town of Oak Bluffs is considering whether to close the scenic roadway.

At a meeting nearly two weeks ago, the East Chop Association voted to recommend that the road be closed between Brewster and Munroe avenues.

No Mere Tipping Point

Walking west on East Chop Drive on a tranquil spring morning, the only indication of trouble is a short metal gate with a spray-painted detour sign. The pavement is remarkably free of potholes and the two-lane road appears intact as far as the eye can see.

Frequent Storms Undermine East Chop Roadway

The succession of storms that have pounded the Island this winter have taken their toll in Oak Bluffs, where the town says massive repairs are needed to stabilize the damaged East Chop area.

Officials said the already-weakened East Chop Drive, bluff and beach have sustained significant damage in the past few months, beginning with Hurricane Sandy in October and continuing through a nearly-three-day storm last week.

East Chop Drive Closed Due to Storm Damage

The Oak Bluffs highway department has closed the ocean side lane of East Chop Drive from Brewster avenue to Munroe avenue due to slumping caused by Hurricane Sandy. The highway department is working on a short term and long term solution, and engineers are working on an immediate plan to stabilize the slumping areas on the bluff.

Erosion Changes Shape of Vineyard Fragile Shorelines, Coastal Roadways Feel the Effects

On a calm day, ocean waves lap on the beach less than 20 feet from East Chop Drive in Oak Bluffs. The edge of the road is already breaking up.

Eroding Bluff Threatens Scenic Drive Along East Chop; Repairs Are Needed

An engineering report examining the stability of scenic East Chop Drive in Oak Bluffs concludes the fragile coastal slope is extremely unstable and showing signs of distress and imminent failure.

The eight-page draft report from the firm of Stearns and Wheler recommends that the town repair the bluff as quickly as possible by both reshaping the coastal bank and installing stabilizing materials such as a concrete block system, heavy riprap, sheet piling or a specially designed mechanically stabilized earth wall.

Town May Take Ownership of Fragile East Chop Bluff

Oak Bluffs town officials have entered negotiations with the East Chop Association to take ownership of the coastal bluff on scenic East Chop Drive, following a report which concluded the slope is in danger of imminent failure.

The takeover plan is still in the very early stages, but those on both sides of the negotiations believe transferring ownership of the East Chop bluff to the town is the only way to secure state and federal funding for repairs of the fragile coastal bank.