Burlington officials celebrate early completion of roundabout
BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Chittenden County’s first modern roundabout is now officially open in Burlington, and state and city leaders say it is already making a difference in improved traffic flow.
“It was pretty sketchy before and now it is a lot safer, I think, for cars and pedestrians,” said Ian Doerner of Burlington. He and others we spoke to recalled the mess that it was before construction transformed the small, hard-to-navigate rotary.
City officials say the project took just over a year to complete and came in ahead of schedule thanks to favorable conditions last winter and crews working overnight. “Travel through this main artery will be safer and easier for Burlingtonians and visitors alike, whether they are walking, biking, or driving through the South End,” said Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger.
Dubbed the gateway into Burlington, the new roundabout features a single-lane with five outlets. It also has signaled crosswalks, something pedestrians like Michael Healy are grateful for. “I walk through here almost daily and I think it’s great for pedestrians. We have all the protective crosswalks and the lights. This was kind of a crazy intersection to walk through before, so for me, it works much better,” he said.
Officials say the $7.7 million federally funded project involved a bottom-up approach, installing new stormwater, water, and wastewater pipes, along with electrical improvements. “There are two tanks -- one on Grove Court, the other here, that will detain stormwater and slow its release towards Lake Champlain. So, overall we have a much more resilient project than we would have had if we came in and just did the superficial improvements,” said Burlington Public Works Director Chapin Spencer.
It’s also designed to allow bikers a safer way to navigate the curve of the roundabout. “You just have to slow down but then you can get in the lane and people have to respect you in a way that they didn’t have to before because they could always just squeeze that space,” said Michael Ware of Burlington.
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