The date of the next meeting of the Chappy Ferry steering committee has been changed to Thursday, April 6. The time is still 5 p.m. The meeting has yet to be posted on the town’s website. Likely items on the agenda may be a report from Fuss & O’Neill regarding their study to propose solutions to sea level rise at the Chappy Ferry, a report from the license subcommittee and an update from Paul O’Donnell regarding the progress of forming a nonprofit to assume operation of the ferry.

One of the jobs of the steering committee is to look into all options for getting people to and from Chappy. For instance, a bridge. Back in the 1930s, plans for a bridge were drawn up and presented at town meeting for funding. Of course, that project didn’t happen. A bridge over Edgartown harbor would be rather restrictive to vessel passage.

A while ago I described in this column how a tunnel could be constructed to connect Chappaquiddick island to Edgartown proper. It wasn’t really fantasy. It’s a common engineering feat these days. It’s just usually done on a much larger scale, serving a much larger land area and a much larger population.

Turns out that someone at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers happened to read that column and showed it to a department chief who showed it to the next in command, who showed it to the next until it reached the top of the chain. The Corps is always on the lookout for interesting civil projects to challenge its ingenuity. The concept of a short submarine tunnel to serve tiny Chappy apparently tickled the fancy of the head of our district.

My information is at best fourth-hand but the Corps likes the idea that a tunnel will make access to the Island weatherproof, solves the problem of the effect of sea level rise on water surface travel, has no effect on marine traffic, makes municipal water and sewer service a breeze, opens up an untapped area for affordable housing and provides around the clock free access with almost no moving parts once it’s installed.

The idea reportedly has become an actual proposal at the federal level. Of course, a lot has to be done before you’ll see any digging here. There will be public meetings to determine need. Then intense engineering studies to determine the route and where the entrances will go. Getting in the queue for funding through the federal infrastructure bill. Getting bids for the materials and construction contracts.

Word is that once the Corps gets interested in a project, they like to move it right along quickly. I was surprised to hear that they even have a specific contemplated completion date, April 1, 2028. Wait a sec; isn’t that April Fool’s Day?