History

The Champlain Parkway Project has a long history of review and study, dating back to the 1960's. Numerous local and state-sponsored transportation analyses have been conducted over the years, which highlight the long-term recognition and consensus of transportation deficiency in southwestern portion of the City of Burlington. Below are project highlights from the 1960's to today. 

1960's

1965 - The Vermont State Department of Highways published a study recommending that a Burlington Belt Line be constructed. The initial recommendation consisted of a four-lane freeway running the entire length of the city. The magnitude of the Belt Line project, led to a consensus in the City that the Belt Line was too large and disruptive an undertaking to pursue. The City of Burlington was, however, still interested in improving access to the Central Business District (CBD) from the south, and favored building the section of the Belt Line from I-189 to Main Street.

1970's

1974 - A consultant with the City of Burlington proposed a four-lane, undivided street with at-grade intersections. A section of new roadway, generally along the Belt Line route, was proposed to connect I-189 with Pine Street north of Flynn Avenue. In that proposal, Pine Street would be widened northerly to Pine Place, where the arterial would diverge and connect with the southern terminus of Battery Street in the CBD. The City named this conceptual new highway the Southern Connector to disassociate it from the Belt Line concept that had lost public support.

1976 - The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), in consultation with the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans), agreed to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to address the Southern Connector proposal.

1977 - As part of the Draft EIS (DEIS) effort, subsurface geotechnical borings were extracted in wetland areas adjacent to the Pine Street Barge Canal. The borings presented traces of oil, the presence of which was recorded in the DEIS. The DEIS review comments from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggested a need to determine the nature and extent of the oil-contamination detected in the borings and recommended that measures be included to protect water quality.

1979 - The Final EIS (FEIS) was completed in July and approved by FHWA and documented the issues involved in the selection of the Selected Alternative.

1980's

1981 - The presence of coal gasification waste was recorded during project development. Due to concerns over the presence of waste, and the potential for further contamination of the area, the Pine Street Barge Canal was proposed for inclusion on the EPA's first National Priorities List (NPL) of hazardous waste sites. The EPA then commenced to study the site, identified as the Pine Street Barge Canal Superfund Site. 

Late 1980's - The construction of the C-1 Section (I-189/U.S. Route 7 interchange to Home Avenue) was nearly complete. The remediation plan development for the Pine Street Barge Canal Superfund Site delayed the construction of the C-2 Section (Home Avenue to Lakeside Avenue) and the C-8 Section (Lakeside Avenue to Battery Street through the Pine Street Barge Canal Superfund Site). Consequently, the C-1 Section west of U.S. Route 7, has never been opened to traffic. Also during this time, VTrans began to study interim routing alternatives which would bypass the Pine Street Barge Canal Superfund Site, and provide an interim facility to address the short-term purpose and need of the project. This effort identified alternatives using Lakeside Avenue and Pine Street as the primary transportation corridor. 

1990's

1990's - The Burlington City Council began referring to the project as the Champlain Parkway rather than the Southern Connector.

1995 - In January, VTrans and FHWA initiated efforts to prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS), which was focused on documenting the impacts associated with an interim routing of traffic around the Pine Street Barge Canal Superfund Site.

1997 - In February, An FSEIS was prepared by VTrans, which selected a preferred interim alternative that routed traffic around the Pine Street Barge Canal Superfund Site. In August, FHWA issued a ROD, which approved the interim Selected Alternative, included a statement of commitments and mitigation, and included responses to public comments on the 1997 FSEIS.

1998 - In October, the City of Burlington and VTrans executed an agreement to allocate the continued development of the Champlain Parkway to the City of Burlington.

1999 - The City of Burlington hired an engineering consulting firm to provide design engineering services for the development and construction of the Selected Interim Alternative for the Champlain Parkway as described in the 1997 ROD.

2000's

2002 - In March, the City of Burlington formalized efforts to modify the 1979 Selected Alternative and the 1997 Selected Interim Alternative as a result of public comments and the City's preferences to blend the roadway design into the surrounding neighborhoods. The new plan reduced the roadway from four-lanes to two-lane. The City of Burlington and VTrans also agreed to formally abandon the C-8 Section through the Pine Street Barge Canal Superfund Site, and designate the C-1 Section, C-2 Section and C-6 Section as the permanent alignment for the Southern Connector/Champlain Parkway.

2003 - The City of Burlington, VTrans and FHWA initiated the development of a new Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement to facilitate and accomplish the modifications to the project.

2005 - In October, VTrans recommended that the City of Burlington consider an alternative that would consist of the C-1 Section and C-2 Section only, with improvements on Lakeside Avenue to Pine Street. This alternative would consider minor operational improvements within the existing right-of-way of Pine Street from Lakeside Avenue to Main Street. In November, the Burlington City Council passed a resolution supporting the evaluation of VTrans' recommended alternative in the 2009 FSEIS.

2006 - On November 1, the City of Burlington, VTrans and FHWA circulated the 2006 DSEIS for public and agency comment.

2009 - On September 24, the City of Burlington, VTrans and FHWA circulated the 2009 FSEIS for public and agency comment.

2010's

2010 - On January 13, FHWA issued a Record of Decision identifying a Selected Alternative.

2011-2012 - Application, public hearings, and approval of the comprehensive amendment to Act 250 Land Use Permit for entire alignment.

2012-2013 - There were appeals by several parties of the Act 250 approval. The City reached settlements with all but one party.

2014 - The City prepared for a de novo trial on an appeal at the Vermont Environmental Court. The Environmental Court issued a decision in favor of the Champlain Parkway Project. The District Environmental Commission issued a final Act 250 permit amendment to the City and VTrans. An appeal of the Vermont Environmental Court's decision was made to the Vermont Supreme Court. The City submitted an application to the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources and a permit was issued for construction-phase stormwater.

2015 - The Public Works Commission unanimously agreed to set a 25 MPH speed limit north of Home Avenue (a decrease from 35 MPH) and voted to decrease speeds more quickly between I-189 and Home Avenue as the Champlain Parkway transitions to a City street. After additional public input, the Champlain Parkway design was modified to further enhance safety for all modes along the project corridor.  Improvements include raised intersections, bump-outs, mid-block crosswalks, tighter curb radii at intersections, expanded bike facilities, transit shelters, and buried utilities.

2016 – Completed interim City-funded upgrades to the Pine Street and Lakeside Avenue intersection. 

The Vermont Agency of Transportation issues communication acknowledging the dynamic and growing nature of Burlington and granting the City future flexibility to improve the Champlain Parkway corridor to better meet the evolving needs of the City.

2019 – On January 7, the Burlington City Council issued the Compensation Order which secured temporary and permanent rights required for construction of the project thus completing the right-of-way acquisition process for the project.  In July, the Vermont Agency of Transportation and City of Burlington entered into an Amendment to the Cooperative Agreement which committed Federal, State, and Local funding for the construction phase of the project.

On March 4, a Corrective Action Plan Public Meeting was held.

On March 29, VT DEC approved the Corrective Action Plan. 

On September 26, a Public Outreach Meeting for the Greater King Street and Maple Street Neighborhood was held to provide an update and information about the project and to solicit feedback from the community.    

On October 3, City conducted a Project Update Meeting at the Ward 6 NPA Meeting.   

On October 7, a Public Outreach Open House was held at King Street Center.

On October 7, FHWA rescinded the 2010 Record of Decision.

2000's

2020 – On January 13, FHWA issued a Reevaluation of the 2009 Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement.

On January 27, FHWA issues of Notice of Intent to prepare a Limited Scope Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement to address changes subsequent to 2010 in FHWA guidance and methodology for performing environmental justice analyses, updated demographic information contained in the latest available census data, and to provide additional opportunities for meaningful public involvement.  The Supplemental EIS will be limited in the scope of issues, and only assess impacts to low-income and minority populations. The Supplemental EIS review will also address a limited portion of the project along the Pine Street section of the Selected Alternative, between Maple Street and Main Street.

On June 15, VTrans and Vermont Railway, Inc. executed a Right-of-Way, Finance and Maintenance Agreement for upgrades to 5 railroad crossings included in the Project.  The upgrades will be constructed at the Home Ave, Flynn Ave, Sears Lane, Maple Street and King Street railroad crossings.

On July 10, FHWA published the Limited Scope Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for public and agency review.