Aquinnah’s oldest road will be repaired by winter and the town may sport a new tour bus line next summer.
Selectmen last week awarded $14,350 to Deca Inc. of Vineyard Haven to repair an unpaved stretch of Old South Road, the town’s oldest byway dating back to the 1870s.
Old South Road is reached from Church street off State Road and is partially paved. The unpaved portion is an estimated quarter to half mile stretch on the east fork of South Road. The road is pitted with holes and gullies and standing boulders, making it difficult to negotiate for residents and impassable for emergency vehicles. The road has been under engineering review for more than a year.
Under the proposal, the former oxcart path will be filled and smoothed with a gravel-based mix and the town will budget for annual maintenance.
Selectmen also agreed to provide a letter agreeing to town road use by Vineyard Green Tours, a new tour bus company that plans to run between the Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven ferries and Aquinnah. Company principals are town residents James Sanfilippo and Vernon Welch. State licensing requires approval of road use by the towns the busses travel through.
Mr. Welch and Mr. Sanfilippo appeared before the Chilmark selectmen on Tuesday night this week. The board set Dec. 4 as a date for a public hearing, and gave the two businessmen a generally positive response.
“We like green tours but we don’t like busses in Menemsha in the summer,” selectman Warren Doty said.
The company plans to use three small busses that run on bio-diesel fuel.
Last summer shop owners at the Cliffs said their business had been hurt by cutbacks in the number of trips by the Gay Head Sightseeing Co. tour bus company.