SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. – With 900 acres of land that straddles Interstate 89 in South Burlington likely be developed, the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission gave details on what a new freeway interchange might look like.
Their study found that adding Exit 12B at Route 116 would cut down on traffic at other South Burlingon exits off I-89. It also looked into an extension of Swift Street to divert some traffic from Kennedy Drive.
“We’re looking at it in an incremental way so there’s not any recommendations to build right away, but rather as things happen and develop,” said CCRPC Senior Transportation Planner Christine Forde.
In a previous public survey, South Burlington residents had indicated they want the open space near Kimball Avenue and Tilley Drive to be used for parks, single-family homes and office space.
A separate question asked what transportation options would be most beneficial. Residents said they foremost wanted a connected network of sidewalks and bike paths. The I-89 interchange at Route 116 was their second choice.
“Exit 12B seems to be a long-term investment that would pay off,” said City Councilor Tim Barritt. “I think a lot of people that live in the southeast quadrant spend a lot of gasoline trying to go south on I-89 and this would offer a solution for that.”
The CCRPC study also looked at the possibility of new signals or roundabouts at five locations along Route 116, and new sidewalks or paths along Route 116, Kimball Avenue and Old Farm Road.
As Forde said, the study is meant to aid in long-term planning decisions and it isn’t expected that changes will come in the near future.
Councilor Tom Chittenden said a large percentage of future conversations will be about cost – he speculated how transportation improvements might be funded.
“The concept of a TIF (Tax Incremented Finance District) has been employed in other states around transportation improvements,” Chittenden said. “I’d be interested in exploring with the state a possible TIF to pay for the public infrastructure that would accompany this growth.”