About 30,000 cars cross the Winooski River Bridge connecting Burlington and Winooski every day, and the nearly 100 year old bridge is beginning to show its age.
“The railing which was built in 1929 when the bridge was rebuilt is falling apart,” said Peter Keating, Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission. “The concrete is disintegrating, the re-bar is being exposed and rusting,”
Keating says the railing is in need of an immediate fix. Crews have erected barriers along the sidewalk, barring pedestrian traffic. One lane of traffic on the bridge will be closed from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.
While only temporary, this could mark the beginning of a complete make-over as there are a number of other deficiencies.
“The biggest ones are the safety of people who walk and bike across it, from a car’s perspective, it’s doing pretty well but the sidewalk is terrible and there are no bike lanes,” he said.
Keating and the planning commission have looked at a number of options to address the safety concerns: fix what already exists; build a separate bicycle-pedestrian bridge; or start from scratch.
“There is some consensus around widening the current bridge having bicycle and pedestrian on both sides of the bridge and widening the travel lanes across it,” he said.
Keating says the project, which could cost upwards of $22 million, is several years off.