South Burlington, VT- The city of South Burlington is investing in safe and sustainable transportation options by building a walking and biking bridge over I-89.

The Exit 14 interchange is seen throughout the county as a barrier to walking and biking in the area. Currently, people have to walk through four of the busiest on and off-ramps in the state to get across.

Project Manager Ilona Blanchard says the bridge could be a, “real game-changer” for walkers and bikers.

The project is being called the east-west crossing and has been on the city’s radar since the 1990s. After receiving a large grant from the U.S. Secretary of Transportation in November 2021, they were finally able to start the process.

Ilona Blanchard said, “One of the things that the public said was that this is a really prominent location in our region so we want this to be a really great project.”

The project will also include an art installation from local artist Tyler Vendituoli, who has a personal connection to the issue the bridge is trying to solve. Vendituoli said, “When I was in college I would have to ride my bike through that section every single night and it’s a super scary place to ride your bike because the traffic coming in and coming out and you can’t see where you’re going.”

The art installation will showcase 50 birds made of bronze spread across the length of the bridge. Those who cross will be prompted to find all the birds, some in plain sight and some hidden.

Vendituoli said, “One of the goals was to make it something that either told a story or  was a whole sequence of events as you cross the bridge.”

In addition to the grant, Blanchard says they’re currently looking for other sources of funding to carry out the project. Construction is slated to begin in early 2025 with a projected end date of two years out.