An Edgartown road that has remained closed during the construction of a new library will now be open at night and on weekends, following a vote by the town selectmen this week.
Robert’s Way has been closed all summer while construction vehicles and workers used it as access to the work site beside the Edgartown School.
Now the fire and police departments have asked that the road be reopened, saying that the closure has led to increased congestion on neighboring streets and limited access for emergency vehicles.
“We wanted to have a discussion on opening Robert’s Way because it’s been quite a hassle for us, as far as traffic backing up and getting to calls in that direction,” police chief Antone Bettencourt told the selectmen on Monday.
More motorists and cyclists have been using Cooke street, a main thoroughfare that is narrow and has a number of stop signs.
Selectmen voted to open the road between 5 p.m. and 7 a.m. each weekday, with daylong openings on weekends and holidays.
The road was expected to be open beginning Tuesday evening.
Construction on the library, which broke ground in March, is expected to be completed in June of 2015.
By May, the construction work will be entirely contained in the building, town administrator Pam Dolby said, and the road should be permanently open.
“The road should be open as soon as it can be open,” she said.
In other business, the town has ordered the owners of the Kelley House hotel to replace a public shade tree that was removed this week from Daggett street without town permission.
The town council on aging, which is housed in The Anchors next to the Kelley House property, reported the removal of the Norway maple to the town on Monday.
Mrs. Dolby said later that contractors should make it their business to know state law protecting shade trees.
Shade trees are defined as all trees within a public way. State law allows a town to fine a property owner as much as $500 for the unpermitted cutting or removal of a shade tree.
Shade trees are rarely removed in Edgartown without permission, Mrs. Dolby said.
The Kelley House came under new ownership this past March. Bradley Palmer acts as principal of the small group of investors who own the hotel and adjoining properties.
The hotel has agreed to quickly replace the tree, said Stuart Fuller, town highway superintendent and tree warden. Mr. Fuller said that while he only saw the stump, he estimated from its diameter that the tree was 20 to 25 feet tall.
Also on Monday, selectmen voted to appoint Zachary Townes and Curtis Chandler as year-round special police officers.