The Burlington-Winooski Bridge is located between Burlington and Winooski carrying US Routes 2 and 7 over the Winooski River. This bridge provides a vital connection between the two cities, as well as the region. As the sole downtown crossing over the Winooski River, the Burlington-Winooski Bridge provides a link for approximately 25,000 vehicles per day and approximately 500 pedestrians and bicyclists per day. The existing bridge, constructed in 1928, is currently safe, but is approaching the end of its service life. In addition, the bridge no longer meets the needs of the communities it serves.
The existing bridge features four narrow vehicle travel lanes, no shoulders, and narrow sidewalks on each side. There is currently no buffer separating vehicular traffic from pedestrians and bicyclists, creating unsafe conditions for all travelers. Replacing this 95-year-old bridge is a priority action for VTrans as well as including features in the new bridge structure that will improve connectivity and safety for all users.
Starting in 2017, a study was conducted known as Phase A: Project Definition. Phase A concluded with a Scoping Report, dated May 30, 2019. The Scoping Report (Winooski River Bridge Scoping Report) was initiated by the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission (CCRPC). Input was gathered from the public and a Project Advisory Committee comprised of project stakeholders and local leaders. The recommendation from this study called for the complete replacement of the existing bridge with a wider structure, using accelerated bridge construction (ABC) techniques. Vehicular traffic was recommended to be managed with a short-term detour, while pedestrian and bicycle traffic would be maintained onsite throughout construction.
Additionally, in 2022, the project received a federal grant through the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program for $24.8-million dollars, which requires the obligation of the funds by June 30, 2026. Within the grant application, VTrans committed to using a “design-build” contracting mechanism. This RAISE grant will provide a significant portion of the funding required to design and construct the new bridge, with additional funding provided by the State of Vermont and local municipalities. Preliminary engineering will take place over the next several years. Construction is planned to begin in 2027.
Project Phases and Schedule
Now that Phase A: Project Definition, occurring from 2017 to 2019 has been completed, the next phase of the project has begun. This current project will be completed in two additional phases which are further detailed below and in the schedule graphic.
The next phase of this project is referred to as Phase I - Development Phase. Phase I consists of developing the preliminary design of the new bridge and establishing project-specific criteria and impact limitations. Phase I also includes securing environmental clearance from regulatory agencies, a robust public outreach and other work such as coordinating with utilities, property owners and project stakeholders. The time frame of Phase I is estimated from early 2023 through early 2026. In Phase I, interested design- build contractor-designer teams will submit proposals for the project.
The final phase is Phase II - Construction Phase. This phase of the project begins with the selection of a design-build contractor-designer team based on best value and technical merits. The design-build team will finish the bridge design and complete construction of the new bridge. The time frame of Phase II is estimated to occur from 2027 to 2029.