The state has doled out some $7.2 million in federal and state aid for pedestrian and bicycle paths between Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven, as part of a transportation grant package announced last month.

A bill allocating the funds was signed into law June 6.

Summer traffic bottlenecks are acute near the drawbridge. — Ray Ewing

The project to improve Beach Road beginning at Five Corners will receive $4.7 million. An additional $2.5 million will go toward extending a shared use path for pedestrians and bicycles from the drawbridge on Beach Road past the hospital to County Road in Oak Bluffs.

Martha’s Vineyard Commission senior planner Bill Veno said the funds will help to accomplish Islandwide transportation planning goals established by the joint transportation committee.

“Certainly it’s trying to connect the two port towns where people arrive,” Mr. Veno said. “A lot of those people are coming on bicycles.”

The Island’s network of bike paths dates to 1975, Mr. Veno said. A 2009 study identified critical gaps in bicycle infrastructure, most notably the thoroughfare between Tisbury and Oak Bluffs.

Mr. Veno noted that one of the Island’s major employers, the hospital, is also located along the route.

“It’s an alternative way of getting around and there are people who actually commute by bicycle,” Mr. Veno said.

Shared use path has been partially completed on Vineyard Haven side of the drawbridge. — Ray Ewing

The Tisbury section of the project is already at the 100 per cent phase with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. The project will begin at Five Corners and extend to Wind’s Up, widening sidewalks, moving utility poles out of pedestrian walkways, and creating space for bicycle traffic. A shared bicycle and pedestrian path will begin in front of the Tisbury Marketplace and extend to meet the existing path at Wind’s Up.

The two projects will connect bike paths to the drawbridge between the two towns. The bridge project was completed in 2016 with state funds.

“The bridge was designed with the shared use path on it, so now we want to get these other sections in on either side of the bridge,” Mr. Veno said.

The Beach Road project can now be put out to bid.

The Oak Bluffs section of path is at the 25 per cent planning phase.