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Woods Hole map 2.jpg

Map from the collection of

Craig Della Penna

Shining Sea Trail in Falmouth will close during the winter and part of the early spring to install underground electric utility cables.

Shining Sea Bikeway To Partially Close For Eversource Work
By NOELLE ANNONEN Dec 16, 2022  The Enterprise Falmouth

The Shining Sea Bikeway will be closed between Ter Heun Drive and Locust Street early next year while Eversource installs electric cables under the bike path. Cyclist and pedestrian traffic will detour to Palmer Avenue for the duration of the project.

An Eversource representative met with the bicycle and pedestrian committee and Department of Public Works Director Peter M. McConarty on December 7 to share its plans for the project, which requires replacing existing underground cables that carry electricity to the island from the substation in Falmouth.

“This multiyear project will allow us to reduce carbon emissions by decommissioning and removing the five diesel backup generators on Martha’s Vineyard,” Eversource media relations officer Christopher McKinnon said Wednesday, December 14, in an email.

Mr. McKinnon said the project will close a portion of the bike path only periodically throughout the off-season, or before Memorial Day and after Labor Day.

“We are working in close partnership with the Town of Falmouth, the Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee, and other community organizations to minimize the impacts of this work and define the best means of communicating with folks who regularly use the bikeway,” Mr. McKinnon said.

The project is currently in the permitting process, so a schedule has yet to be finalized. Mr. McConarty said the DPW will help plow snow off of the sidewalks for detour use, but Palmer Avenue falls under Massachusetts Department of Transportation jurisdiction.

Katherine Jansen, vice chairwoman of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee, said Eversource representatives assured the committee that work on the utility poles that block the Palmer Avenue sidewalks will be done by the time construction closes the path. But she said the committee is still concerned about how people who want to use the path will be notified ahead of time and if the detour along Palmer Avenue will be a safe one.

“That sidewalk is only 36 inches wide,” Ms. Jansen said. “And you have cars zipping by.”

She said committee members requested Eversource provide mobile text alerts a week in advance of any closures, with push notifications that will inform cyclists and pedestrians about any changes to the project plan. But representatives from the state department of transportation would supervise safety measures for redirected path traffic on Palmer Avenue.

“It’s not a great situation,” Ms. Jansen said. “We want to make sure it’s safe.”.

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