Construction of a shared-use path in Oak Bluffs will cause some traffic delays along Beach Road near the drawbridge this spring.

The state Department of Transportation (DOT) will be restricting the heavily-trafficked stretch in Oak Bluffs from March 20 to mid–May to create the bike and pedestrian walkway. According to a statement from the town, the road will be down to one lane for part of the way from the drawbridge to Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.

Traffic signals will be erected at the edges of the construction zone signaling the start of alternating one-way traffic. The road will be restricted to one lane for the entirety of the construction period.

“The MassDOT’s contractor will be working extended hours to complete this work as quickly as possible to restore the road to two travel lanes,” said DOT spokesperson Judith Reardon Riley.

The project closes a gap in non-vehicular paths between Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven and is designed to improve both driver and pedestrian protection on the long stretch of seaside road. The path is a part of a larger Beach Road renovation project that began in late 2020 to improve the street’s overall quality and safety.

During this construction period, workers will be installing reinforcements along the drawbridge rail and the shared pathway. The work schedule is subject to change and is weather dependent, though the department has ensured that both lanes will be restored no later than Memorial Day.

The Oak Bluffs select board was alarmed by how long the lane will be closed. This week the board requested that DOT representatives come to the next select board meeting on March 28 to discuss traffic pattern details and inform the public more about the upcoming work.