Burlington fire chief weighs in on dangerous intersection planning

Published: Sep. 19, 2019 at 6:03 AM EDT
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The debate over a controversial Burlington intersection continues with the city's fire chief reacting to the changes planned for St. Paul and Maple streets and whether they will make it safer.

Chief Steven Locke says he wasn't personally involved in the planning process for the intersection.

"I think we often see plans and conceptual drawings. And, personally, I was not part of the process where we saw the finalized plans and perhaps that I think both public works and all parties will do that in the future," Locke said.

Locke did say that others in his department were involved in the process. Deputy Chief Peter Brown was one of those. Brown told WCAX News, "The way it works for us is when we have projects like this, we provide the engineers with specific turning radius and the needs of the fire department, so in turn, they provide that to the contractors and the expectation is that’s how it’s going to turn out."

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger said the fire department will continue to be involved in the process as changes are made to the intersection.

"The fire department has been part of the planning here and the sign-off, but in this period of reviewing it we are again bringing the fire department in," said Weinberger, D-Burlington.

Chief Locke says he's not worried about that intersection because fire vehicles normally go straight and rarely do they turn there.

"I think the lesson learned perhaps is to meet with the engineers as they're... because while the technical specifications that do meet the apparatus can make that swing, there's often more that goes into it," Locke said.

The Burlington Public Works director says his team was scheduled to meet with the designer and contractors Thursday to discuss what they're doing and when.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to clarify the involvement of the fire department in the planning of the intersection.