Project History

Champlain Parkway intersection with Home Avenue

The proposed project has a long history of review and study, dating back to the 1960's. Numerous local and state-sponsored transportation analyses have been conducted, which are evidence of a long-term recognition of a transportation deficiency. In 1965, the Department of Highways published a study recommending that a Burlington Belt Line be constructed, consisting of a four-lane freeway running the entire length of the city. The magnitude of the Belt Line project, led to a consensus in the City that the Belt Line was too large and disruptive an undertaking to pursue. The City of Burlington was, however, still interested in improving access to the Central Business District (CBD) from the south, and favored building the section of the Belt Line from I-189 to Main Street.

In 1974, a consultant for the City proposed a four-lane, undivided street with at-grade intersections. A section of new roadway, generally along the Belt Line route, was proposed to connect I-189 with Pine Street north of Flynn Avenue. In that proposal, Pine Street would be widened northerly to Pine Place, where the arterial would diverge and connect with the southern terminus of Battery Street in the CBD. The City named this conceptual new highway the Southern Connector to disassociate it from the Belt Line concept that had lost public support.

In 1976, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), in consultation with the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans), agreed to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to address the proposal.

Champlain Parkway intersection with Flynn Avenue

As part of the Draft EIS (DEIS) effort, subsurface geotechnical borings were extracted in wetland areas adjacent to the Pine Street Barge Canal. The borings encountered traces of oil, the presence of which was recorded in the 1977 DEIS. The DEIS review comments from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggested a need to determine the nature and extent of the oil-contamination detected in the borings and recommended that measures be included to protect water quality.

The Final EIS (FEIS), completed in July of 1979 and approved by FHWA, documents the issues involved in the selection of the Selected Alternative.

The presence of coal gasification waste was recorded during project development. Due to concerns over the presence of the wastes, and the potential for further contamination, the Pine Street Barge Canal area was proposed for inclusion on the EPA's first National Priorities List (NPL) of hazardous waste sites (October 1981).

The EPA then commenced to study the site, currently identified as the Pine Street Barge Canal Superfund Site.

The construction of the C-1 Section (I-189/U.S Route 7 interchange to Home Avenue) was nearly completed in the late 1980's under the approval granted in the 1979 FEIS. The development of a remediation plan for the Pine Street Barge Canal Superfund Site delayed the construction of the C-2 Section (Home Avenue to Lakeside Avenue) and the C-8 Section (Lakeside Avenue to Battery Street through the Pine Street Barge Canal Superfund Site). The C-1 Section, west of U.S. Route 7, has never been opened to traffic.

Champlain Parkway intersection with Lakeside Avenue

During the late 1980's, VTrans began to study interim routing alternatives which would bypass the Pine Street Barge Canal Superfund Site, and provide an interim facility to address the short-term purpose and need of the project. This effort identified alternatives using Lakeside Avenue and Pine Street as the primary transportation corridor.

During the 1990's, the Burlington City Council began referring to the project as the Champlain Parkway rather than the Southern Connector.

In January, 1995, VTrans and FHWA initiated efforts to prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS), which was focused on documenting the impacts associated with an interim routing of traffic around the Pine Street Barge Canal Superfund Site.

In February, 1997, an FSEIS was prepared by VTrans selecting a preferred interim alternative routing traffic around the Pine Street Barge Canal Superfund Site. In August, 1997, FHWA issued a ROD, which approved the interim Selected Alternative, included a statement of commitments and mitigation, and included responses to public comments on the 1997 FSEIS.

On October 21, 1998, the City of Burlington and VTrans executed an agreement delegating the responsibilities for the continued development of the Southern Connector/Champlain Parkway project to the City of Burlington.

In October, 1999, the City of Burlington contracted with a consulting engineering firm to provide design engineering services for the development and construction of the Selected Interim Alternative for the Southern Connector/Champlain Parkway as described in the 1997 ROD.

Pine Street from Maple Street to Main Street

In March, 2002, the City of Burlington formalized their efforts to modify the 1979 Selected Alternative and the 1997 Selected Interim Alternative as a result of public comments and the City of Burlington's preferences to blend the roadway design into the surrounding neighborhoods. Specifically, the roadway typical section would be reduced from a four-lane roadway to a two-lane roadway. The City of Burlington and VTrans also agreed to formally abandon the C-8 Section through the Pine Street Barge Canal Superfund Site, and designate the C-1 Section, C-2 Section and C-6 Section as the permanent alignment for the Southern Connector/Champlain Parkway.

In August, 2003, the City of Burlington, VTrans and FHWA initiated the development of a new Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement to facilitate and accomplish the modifications to the project.

In October, 2005, VTrans recommended that the City of Burlington consider an alternative that would consist of the C-1 Section and C-2 Section only, with improvements on Lakeside Avenue to Pine Street. This alternative would consider minor operational improvements within the existing right-of-way of Pine Street from Lakeside Avenue to Main Street.

In November, 2005, the Burlington City Council passed a resolution supporting the evaluation of VTrans' recommended alternative as shown in the 2009 FSEIS.

On November 1, 2006, the City of Burlington, VTrans and FHWA circulated the 2006 DSEIS for public and agency comment.

On September 24, 2009, the City of Burlington, VTrans and FHWA circulated the 2009 FSEIS for public and agency comment.

On January 13, 2010, FHWA issued a Record of Decision identifying a Selected Alternative.

During 2011-2012 - Application, public hearings, and approval of the comprehensive amendment to Act 250 Land Use Permit for entire alignment.

During 2012-2013 - There were appeals by several parties of the Act 250 approval. The City reached settlements with all but one party.

During 2014 - The City prepared for a de novo trial on an appeal at the Vermont Environmental Court. The Environmental Court issued a decision in favor of the Champlain Parkway project. The District Environmental Commission issued a final Act 250 permit amendment to the City and VTrans. An appeal of the Vermont Environmental Court's decision has been made to the Vermont Supreme Court. The City submitted an application to the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources and a permit was issued for construction-phase stormwater.