BURLINGTON, Vt. — Construction is set to resume in mid-April on the Champlain Parkway project in Burlington, which would connect I-189 in South Burlington to the city’s downtown.
The project has been in the works since the 1960s. Last year, crew worked on stormwater, utility, and the subbase for the new section of roadway between Home Avenue and Lakeside Avenue, according to Chapin Spencer, the director of Burlington Public Works.
This year, city officials plan to make roads more pedestrian-friendly and will repave roads like Lakeside Avenue. Supporters say the project will alleviate traffic and congestion on neighborhood streets.
“I’m confident that overall, Burlington is moving in the right direction,” Spencer said.
However, the project still faces roadblocks. A group known as the Friends of Pine Street is in the midst of a lawsuit with the city and is hoping to stop the project.
“We’re challenging the environmental impact statement issued to the Champlain Parkway,” said Steven Goodkind, a member of the Friends of Pine Street. “The neighborhood that we’re referring to is a low and moderate-income neighborhood, and we think the law is on our side that says you don’t put roads through low-income neighborhoods like we used to.”
Goodkind said they’ve reached out to the city to try and make a settlement but never heard back. City officials, on the other hand, said they’ve already made concessions.
“The city’s worked hard to right side this project. What started out as a limited access four-lane, high-speed highway through Burlington is now a 25 mile an hour multi-model street,” Spencer said.
Both sides are confident entering the hearing.
“We have succeeded in all past six attempts, and we’re confident that we’re going to be successful in this one,” Spencer said.
“I hope that the judge will rule in our favor, and basically they’ll be told to get a new environmental impact statement,” Goodkind said.
The two sides will meet in federal court on May 12, and the city is hoping to resolve the lawsuit by late June.