One of the options that the Chappy Ferry steering committee has come up with to address the issue of the length of time that people have to wait in line with their vehicles is a bridge. In the year 1924, at town meeting, Edgartown voters considered a bridge. Various issues were thought to be insurmountable at that time, such as the high cost of construction and maintenance to serve so few residents, as well as the low clearance of only 50 feet for vessels passing beneath the bridge.

Now, almost a century later, several issues make this an even more challenging solution. The owners of many tall-masted yachts are accustomed to mooring in Edgartown harbor and Katama Bay. Those folks would surely frown on an interruption of their historical habits. But let’s suppose that a bridge with a clearance in excess of 100 feet was contemplated. That would require lots of land for the approaches. I can’t think of anybody with waterfront property who would want the bridge as a neighbor.

A floating bridge at the existing ferry run was suggested. It would swing aside to let vessels pass. There are such installations elsewhere in the world. Imagine all of the environmental conditions that a floating bridge would have to withstand here if ever the dozens of conflicting interests in the use of the harbor were to be reconciled and it was allowed.

How about an alternative proposal? A thinking-outside-of-the-box idea. How about a tunnel? Or more accurately, a submarine tube. A trench is dug on the seafloor. Prefabricated sections of tunnel are floated into position and are sunk into the trench. Divers connect enough sections together to reach dry ground on each side of the harbor. The water is pumped out. And ta-da!: you can drive to or from Chappy any time you like. Plenty of room on Chappy Point for a tunnel entrance since there will no longer be a need for the parking lot. On the Edgartown side, you would probably have to burrow inland a little way to get to a good spot to pop out. The technology is tried and true. All it takes is time and money.

This would solve all of the issues that the steering committee has raised. Passage through it would be free. It would be open 24 hours a day regardless of the weather or state of the tides. Through federal or state grants, other taxpayers would foot the bill. It would be really fast compared to the ferry. The only waiting would be when traffic is backed up on Main street and all of the roads leading into and out of town, but there’s nothing that can be done about that. I suppose that the roads on Chappy might see an uptick in traffic. The upside of that will be that cars have to go slower when roads are congested. It’s called traffic calming. It makes it safer to ride a bike on the road side. You might have to forfeit the special rural appeal of Chappy but the trade-off would be that your house would be worth a lot more when you sell and buy a cabin in Maine to get away from the hurrying crowds.