Champlain Parkway construction resumes after 35 years in limbo

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Champlain Parkway construction resumes after 35 years in limbo

Thu, 06/23/2022 - 5:17pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Construction on the Champlain Parkway – after 35 years since initial site work was halted – has now resumed. This week, site preparation has begun.

Following the federal judge’s ruling Friday, June 17 to lift the temporary restraining order on the Champlain Parkway, construction activities on the Champlain Parkway Project began on Tuesday.  The Court gave the go-ahead to start construction while the legal challenge is pending. The City hopes to agree on a schedule resolving that legal challenge before the next construction season. 

“As many have remarked, for decades Burlington mayors, including me, have frequently predicted that construction of the Champlain Parkway would start ‘in about two years.’ I am relieved, grateful and excited to be able to report that work has begun on this important and overdue project,” Mayor Miro Weinberger said.

By a unanimous vote of the City Council on April 25, a $40.9 million contract was approved to improve traffic circulation, alleviate overburdened roadways, protect Lake Champlain through enhanced stormwater management, and improve vehicular, bike, and pedestrian safety in the Southwest section of the City.

The funding of the project comes primarily from the federal government, which is contributing 95 percent of the eligible cost. The State of Vermont will pay 3 percent. The City of Burlington will be responsible for roughly 2 percent of the project’s eligible costs plus some costs related to the project.

Through decades of successful effort across multiple Administrations, the City has been able to redesign the Champlain Parkway project to be able to create a new,  safe 25 mph city street that also improves water quality in Lake Champlain.

Starting earlier this week, on Tuesday, crews began on-site clearing on the project’s Right of Way of trees and stumps between Lakeside and Home Avenue. This work will continue through Friday.

Throughout the remainder of this calendar year, work on the project will move forward with the installation of stormwater infrastructure, and new roadway construction between Home Avenue and Sears Lane.

In all, the Champlain Parkway Project spans 2.8-miles from the I-189 intersection with US 7 to Lakeside Avenue, and includes upgrades to Lakeside Avenue, and improvements to Pine Street, between Lakeside Avenue and Main Street. 

In response to community concerns, the City split the construction of the Champlain Parkway into two phases, and is sequencing work with other area projects through the South End Construction Coordination Plan to minimize community impacts.  Under the plan, the initial phase of work for the Champlain Parkway is slated for completion in fall 2024.

This phased approach will also greatly reduce or eliminate the gap in time between the completion of the Champlain Parkway and the construction of the Railyard Enterprise Project. Traffic volume in the City’s South End is not projected to increase after this first phase of Parkway construction since there will be no new interstate connection. Further, with the completion of major South End transportation projects under engineering, design or construction—such as the Shelburne Street Roundabout, the Champlain Parkway and the Railyard Enterprise Project—traffic in the King and Maple neighborhood is expected to decrease.

Department of Public Works Director Chapin Spencer said, “It will take three construction seasons to complete Phase 1 of the Champlain Parkway project. We appreciate everyone’s patience and encourage residents, businesses and visitors to sign up for project updates at www.champlainparkway.com so we can all safely navigate around and through the project area.”      

Timeline: (subject to change)

●     2022: Clearing and grubbing, installation of stormwater infrastructure, and new roadway construction between Home Avenue and Sears Lane

●     2023: New roadway construction between Sears Lane and Lakeside Avenue, as well as connecting sideroad work

●     2024: Improvements along Lakeside Avenue and Pine Street

At the completion of the first phase of construction, project benefits will include:

●     A new 25-mph grid street

●     A new stormwater pond and new stormwater sand filter

●     New shared use paths providing roughly two miles of continuous off-road bike/pedestrian paths

●     Improved raised intersections

●     A new midblock crosswalk at Pine Street and Arts Riot

●     An enhanced Pine Street with new granite curbs, reconstructed sidewalks, and improved surface drainage

●     Underground utilities on Lakeside Avenue between Pine Street and the new portion of the Champlain Parkway

6.23.2022. Burlington, Vt. – Office of Mayor Miro Weinberger