New parking lot aimed at reducing Lake Willoughby traffic

Construction to help accommodate more tourists at Lake Willoughby is now underway.
Published: Oct. 5, 2021 at 6:00 AM EDT
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WESTMORE, Vt. (WCAX) - Construction to help accommodate more tourists at Lake Willoughby is now underway.

Work crews are currently creating an overflow lot off Route 5A that can accommodate about 80 cars. State officials say the goal is to prevent cars on the side of the road and traffic bottlenecks.

“From the start, our goal has been to address the water quality issues with the road-shoulder parking. The runoff from the really heavily used hiking trails associated with the south end area. And also to get a lot of that very, there’s a lot of traffic, foot traffic and car traffic, backing in and out of a state highway,” said Louis Bushey with the Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation.

There will also be smaller parking areas closer to the lake, along with ADA upgrades and bathrooms.

The project hasn’t been without pushback and permitting delays, but Bushey says they’ve made substantial modifications to address some of those concerns.

“There’s still some angst about the additional parking and construction, but I think long-run, we’ll clean up that roadside stuff so it does not look like the chaotic mess of vehicles that it does on the warm, hot summer days,” he said.

Westmore Selectboard Chair Pete Hyslop says he is glad construction at Lake Willoughby is underway because it’s a huge safety issue to have cars lining both sides of the road. He says VTrans is currently doing a traffic study on the area to see if they can create a no-parking zone.

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