As the Obama family packs for vacation, Martha's Vineyard residents, other tourists and drivers are being given the heads-up for travel inconvenience. For the first time in the island's history of hosting presidents for vacation, Secret Service agents are poised to close a main roadway for an extended period of time and set up security checkpoints on nearby side streets, only allowing residents and emergency vehicles access to the area.
Beginning Saturday about 2 p.m., only emergency vehicles will be allowed to travel through security stops on several roads that abut the Obama's vacation home — and the closures will stay in effect from Aug. 10 to Aug. 18, the Martha's Vineyard Times reported.
Drivers will be rerouted and sent on detour roads, and travelers should expect delays and plan accordingly, said Chilmark Police Chief Brian Cioffi, in the Times report.
This is the first time the road has closed for a presidential visit — and it's due to the Obamas' choice of vacation home, the Times reported.
The rental home they selected is different from the site they used on island visits in 2009, 2010 and 2011, the Times said. Then, they stayed at a 28.5 –acre compound that was located at the end of a long dirt road. This time, they're staying at a 5,000-square-foot, $.7.6 million, four-bedroom home that's just off the main road and surrounded by woods — sparking a more intense security scramble.
The police chief said residents are just going to have to deal with the week's inconvenience.
"I participated in tabletop exercises of different plans [with Secret Service], and in the end the Secret Service decided that the safest plan for the president and his family is to close the road and only allow neighbors access," Chief Cioffi said, in the Times report. "When all is said and done, our department will do whatever is needed to support the Secret Service in any way we can. We'll make the best of it. I'm sure Islanders will do the same."
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