Winooski, VT – Phase one of a major bridge construction project between Burlington and Winooski is officially underway. On Tuesday, Vermont’s Agency of Transportation and engineering company HNTB shared the first draft of plans to replace the bridge connecting the two cities. Members of the public were invited to share their thoughts.
The Burlington-Winooski Bridge Project will involve not only replacing the bridge but changing the intersection at Riverside Avenue & Colchester Avenue.
Riverside Avenue will become part of a four-way intersection, which will eliminate the island you see in the middle of the intersection right now. This design also adds distance to the south side of the bridge and creates two lanes on the downhill part of Colchester Avenue leading up to the bridge.
Construction’s expected to start in 2027 and the project is estimated to cost between 50 and 60 million dollars.
HNTB Public Outreach Manager Jennifer Zorn says, “this is a really important project for so many people in this region, so they have made the public outreach component of this job a real priority.”
One of the main concerns at Tuesday’s public meeting was about space for pedestrians and cyclists. The current bridge doesn’t offer a lot of space. The new bridge would include barriers between the street and sidewalk and double the amount of sidewalk space from the current six feet to twelve feet.
One of the attendees was concerned about bikes and pedestrians sharing the same space, “you could have people walking and people with kids in carriages, and e-bikes going, you know, 28 miles an hour.” Another said, “I’m usually crossing this bridge and getting around town using a bike, but I share the concerns of folks who don’t want to share space with me going 15-20 miles per hour faster than him.”
Other questions concerned temporary detours during construction and the feasibility of putting a traffic circle on the Burlington side of the bridge similar to the one in Winooski.
Project Manager John Olund said the current detour plan would involve Interstate 89 and added that an additional traffic circle was considered but wouldn’t fit due to the buildings currently in place on the Burlington side.
There will be additional public hearings scheduled on this project in the coming years.