share

latest news

Vermont Circumferential Highway Alternatives Planning Process

Date:
February 10, 2015
Topics:
2014, Integrated Planning, Planning Collaboration

In 2011, the Governor of Vermont announced that the controversial Chittenden County Circumferential Highway (“the CIRC”) would not be completed. Planning for the CIRC first began in 1953, but after decades of litigation and public criticism, only 4.5 miles of the proposed 12-mile highway on the suburban fringe of Burlington had been constructed. After the remainder of the project was officially scrapped, the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission (CCRPC) was tasked with engaging stakeholders to develop an alternative plan that would address growing concerns over congestion, safety, and freight service throughout the region.

Working closely with Vermont Agency of Transportation, the CCRPC convened the CIRC Alternatives Task Force, consisting of 23 representatives from local towns, state agencies, the regional transit authority, the bicycle and pedestrian community, environmental groups, and the business community. The purpose of the task force was to identify a list of immediate, mid-term, and long-term recommendations for projects and planning activities that address mobility, congestion, transportation demand, safety, livability, and economic development throughout the region.

Thanks to unprecedented collaboration and stakeholder engagement, the task force was ultimately able to identify and recommend 34 projects that would achieve many of the same goals of the CIRC, but had the added benefit of widespread public support. The recommendations, which have all been approved and adopted into the Vermont Transportation Capital Plan by the state legislature, provide forward-thinking solutions that will have a lasting impact on the region.

The Circumferential Highway Alternatives Planning Process was awarded a 2014 Excellence in Regional Transportation Award.  View descriptions of other award winning projects here.