Public weighs in on Circumferential Highway

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An environmental study of the proposed Circumferential Highway in the Burlington area does not appear to have changed many people’s minds.

A draft of the study was completed late last summer, and now the state and federal governments are taking public comment on it.

The study evaluates the implications of building the highway as planned between Interstate 89 in Williston, and Route 117 in Essex, where the first leg has already been built.

The study also considers alternatives, such as improving Route 2A with additional lanes or roundabouts.

Two sessions were held Thursday for the public to comment on the study.

Support remains for the project in the communities where the next section of the highway would be built.

Andrew Davis lives near Route Two-A in Williston. He likes the original design.

(Davis) “It seems to me we’re well over the hump in studies. To me it’s time to build the Circ and not do anything with 2A.’’

(Host) But opponents say the study shows the highway wouldn’t do much to improve economic development in Chittenden County.

Wayne Senville of Burlington says the study didn’t look at what he believes are the most important issues.

(Senville) “Do we realize that building new highways is not a long-term solution to congestion? Don’t we realize our existing transportation infrastructure is crumbling? Don’t we care about building up our public transit system?’’

(Host) Members of the public have until November eighth to submit additional comments.

The final version of the study is due early next year and the state then will choose which alternative it prefers.

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