Williston-Essex Network Transportation Study (WENTS)
Governor Shumlin’s announcement in May of 2011 that the Circumferential Highway (Circ) – as originally conceived – would not be built, leaves a critical gap in planning for multimodal mobility and safety issues within the former Circ study area that includes Williston, Essex, Essex Junction and Colchester (Circ Communities).
Since the Governor’s Circ announcement, the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission’s MPO staff have been coordinating with VTrans, the CIRC Communities and other stakeholders to identify implementation projects and planning activities which would aid in meeting the original Purpose and Need of the Circ Highway Project. A Circ Alternatives Task Force was convened to facilitate this process—for more information please check http://www.circtaskforce.org/.
The Williston-Essex Network Transportation Study (WENTS) is one of the planning initiatives endorsed by the Circ Task Force to address multimodal transportation issues in major portions of Williston, Essex and Essex Junction area.
The goal of this study is to develop a multi-modal transportation improvement plan for the primary corridors in the study area to address mobility, connectivity and safety issues. The Plan will include a comprehensive and coordinated list of highway, transit, bicycle, pedestrian, and land use recommendations that satisfy the overall vision and goals of the study corridors.
This study will occur in several phases:
Phase 1: Evaluation of Two Major Network Strategies
- I-89 connector to Mountain View Road (the former Circ A, Alternative 13);
- Redmond Road Connector – This concept uses the Redmond Road alignment to connect to a new bridge crossing the Winooski River and connecting to VT-289. This concept is most similar to Circ EIS Alternative 15 (Mountain View Road Connector).
Phases 2 – 5: A Corridor Management approach will be used to conduct a comprehensive assessment of issues and needs for the primary corridors in the study area, and develop short, medium and long term transportation strategies and land use policies that will help achieve (over time) an agreed upon vision for the primary transportation network in the area. Study phases include:
- Phase 2-Analysis of Existing and Future Issues and Development of Network Vision/Goals;
- Phase 3-Development and Evaluation of Strategies;
- Phase 4-Development of Implementation Plan; and
- Phase 5-Development of Draft and Final Network Plan.
With a Corridor Management approach, municipalities, multiple agencies and organizations partner to manage the transportation network as an integrated asset in order to improve safety, travel time reliability and predictability, help manage congestion and empower travelers through better information and more choices.