There may be changes coming to a Colchester exit off Interstate 89. Plans for new commercial development in the area sparked a study of the traffic flow around the interchange.
A meeting Tuesday night will bring forward options for redesigning exit 16 on the interstate.
The town of Colchester and the Chittenden County Metropolitan Planning Organization are working with the state transportation agency to develop two design alternatives for Roosevelt Highway at exit 16 to decrease congestion. The first would be a simple expansion of the on and off-ramp lanes. The other would be a complete reconfiguration, eliminating the need for a majority of the traffic lights at the intersection.
A study was conducted on a one-mile section of Route 7 from the Winooski City line to the intersection of Rathe Road in Colchester. Organizers also say significant development pressure has had an impact on that exit, which is a key connector of Burlington and Winooski to parts of Northern Vermont. Also there's the buzz of a potential Costco gas station going in near that exit and experts say anticipating growth needs now will prevent traffic headaches later.
"The traffic improvements have reached their capacity. Traffic improvements have a finite life. And as growth continues in the area and traffic continues to grow, the improvements can no longer handle the traffic," said Bryan Osborne of Colchester Public Works.
"If they would do something to help the traffic flow, it's always going to do us a favor, because any time people can move in and out so they are not afraid to come here and get stuck in traffic, will obviously be better for the business," said Mark Camire of T-Bone's.
The town also said the expansion would cost somewhere between $3 million and $5 million, and construction would begin likely around 2014.
Tuesday at 5 p.m. the town of Colchester and CCMPO will meet at the Albany College of Pharmacy to release the design options and allow the public to have a chance to ask questions about the proposed changes.
The option that would involve eliminating most of the traffic lights is not another roundabout. This concept would be the first in Vermont, but it is quite popular in Europe. It's called a double-cross diamond intersection where all but two traffic lights would be completely eliminated, creating free flowing traffic at the on and off-ramps.
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