Plans in the Works to Update Exit 17 Off of I-89

By Christine Souders |

Published 05/19 2014 07:18PM

Updated 05/19 2014 07:30PM

COLCHESTER, VT- Possible changes in the works to address concerns about a busy I-89 Exit.

Some people claim traffic nightmares on Exit 17, others say it's downright dangerous.

Monday evening, the first of two public meetings was held in Milton..

For the past few years, the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission has been working on a study of Exit 17 to better connect drivers to Colchester, Milton, and the Champlain Islands.

Day-to-day challenges are felt by frequent drivers.

Dervisa Kuljancic said
,"Traffic is crazy around 7 to 9 in the morning. Sometimes in the afternoon from 3 to 6."

"Cars have significant delays in trying to access the interestate, and to get off the interstate in the afternoon, as well as safety issues with it being a high crash location," said Michele Boomhower: Transportation Program Director for the CCRPC.

The study identifies two high crash areas with a total of 48 accidents have occured over a 5-year-period

Donna Hayes said she's seen quite a few, "Some fender benders, some roll overs. I've driven down and seen people running into the back end because they're not paying attention."

Planning Comissioners are proposing two options to address the issues.

Option 1, is to turn the current three lane bridge, into 6 lanes, at an estimated cost of just over $22 million.

The second option is a Loop Ramp Design, coming in closer to $17 million.

This includes the demolition and construction of the current bridge and approach ramps, while adding safe passages for bicyclists and pedestrians.

"It's a really important interchange as far a connectivity in our region," said Boomhower.

The project would be covered with state and federal dollars, and shouldn't impact taxes.

The second meeting is being held at the Colchester Meeting House, Tuesday, May 27th at 6:30pm.

After that, planning commissioners will bring forth a final recommendation to the Vermont Agency of Transportation.

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