Circ Update - July 2010

In July, transportation agencies completed the Final Environmental Impact statement.  The planned project would be a boulevard roadway along the Circ right of way through Williston. The project continues to be a poor investment and a subsidy for sprawl.  Costing over $60 million dollars, saving only 4 minutes of travel time, limiting public transportation options, destroying farmland and wetlands while providing less congestion relief at Five Corners in Essex compared to alternatives that would improve Route 2A is simply a bad idea.  The Final Environmental Impact Statement is available at http://www.circeis.org.

In August, collaborative members submitted detailed comments to the agencies on the Circ Highway proposal.  These comments emphasized that cleaner, lower cost, and more effective solutions are available.  Collaborative comments highlight these critical flaws:

 

  • Climate change impacts from increases in vehicle transportation are ignored.
  • Sprawl and pollution from new development along the roadway and in rural Chittenden County is understated.
  • Valuable wetlands will be needlessly destroyed.

See the full comments here.

In September, collaborative members also submitted comments to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the wetlands permit.  The new road would affect over 20 acres of wetlands and over a mile of streams.  Our comments stress that more effective and less damaging solutions would protect valuable wetlands and water quality.  See the wetlands comments here.

The Army Corps of Engineers extended the comment period unti1 October 14th. The Corps is seeking public comments on the Circ highways project's impact on aquatic resources.

New Circ Highway Design

In December 2009 the highway agencies selected a new design for the Circ highway.  They abandoned the super-highway and instead selected a lower impact "boulevard" design similar to one of the alternatives advanced by the Vermont Smart Growth Collaborative.  While still a new roadway, the route would be moved away from some sensitive wetlands.  While the new design is better for the communities and the environment compared with the original plan, it is not clear that building an entirely new roadway is justified in order to save four minutes of travel time.  Improving existing roads would limit sprawl, have less environmental impact, lower cost and still meet the safety and transportation needs of the county.

View details of new design.

A final environmental impact statement is due in early 2010.