No matter what the Tisbury selectmen decide when they meet Tuesday night on the Beach Road project, it is now unlikely the project will be included in the 2017 funding cycle with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

“It’s becoming profoundly unrealistic we can keep the project in funding cycle 2017,” Tom Currier, supervising project manager from MassDOT, told the Gazette Monday. Mr. Currier said at this stage, the time it takes to prepare the project to advertise for bids is longer than the time they have before the funding cycle begins.

After a three-hour meeting last week that saw much argument but little unanimity on what design to use for the road improvement project, selectmen plan to continue the discussion at their regular meeting Tuesday night. The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Katharine Cornell Theatre.

Last week, the vote was 2-1 in favor of a so-called symmetrical design, one of three concepts on the drawing board to improve the stretch of road from Five Corners to the drawbridge. Selectmen also agreed to discuss whether to bring the issue before voters at a special town meeting in early December.

The project has been under discussion for months, but as of yet no design has been sent to the state, one of the first of many steps that must be completed before the bidding process begins.

Mr. Currier said the state has included the town in the decision-making process as a courtesy, but ultimately the project is under Mass DOT jurisdiction.

“We are not obligated by what is decided on the local level on a state highway,” he said. Despite this, Mr. Currier said they want to work with the town. “We don’t want to force a project on a town that doesn’t want it,” he said.

He was also clear that the delays do not jeopardize the project, just the timeline.

“We were out of time a while ago,” Mr. Currier said. He said all the hard deadlines the state set were missed by the town. While the state will try their best to keep the project in the expected funding cycle, he said it’s becoming increasingly unrealistic.

“It’s tough,” Mr. Currier said. “I know it’s difficult to reach consensus. The town doesn’t want to build something the people don’t like.”

Selectman Melinda Loberg — whose nay vote was in the minority last week — expressed open frustration at the recent turn of events.

“All along we’ve been under a time constraint,” she said. Mrs. Loberg said while no hard deadlines were communicated to her, state officials did make it clear time was short.

“I suspect that we are going to send them a recommendation this week,” she said. “It’s probably going to be necessary to get a decision the town can live with as a town.”

The selectmen meet Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in the Katharine Cornell Theatre.

Mrs. Loberg said her biggest concern is the prospect of losing state funding.

“From the very beginning I told my colleagues, let’s not get so bogged down that we lose the money,” she said.

William Veno, senior planner from the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, said on Monday if the project does not make the funding cycle deadline, state Transportation Improvement Program money earmarked for the work will have to be reallocated.

“If Tisbury Beach Road was bumped, we would have to scramble to figure out what to spend the money on,” Mr. Veno said. He said losing the money this time would not preclude the town from obtaining funds in the next cycle.