The long-awaited northern leg of Rte. 279 in Bennington, Vt., officially opened to traffic last week. Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin and top officials from the Federal Highway Administration led the opening ceremony for the $72 million project, designed by Stantec and its team of subconsultants.
The new highway section is a 3.5-mile, two-lane, limited-access highway that includes climbing lanes, two interchanges, a welcome center, five new roadway bridges and a pedestrian bridge and underpass. The intent is to divert traffic from downtown Bennington, where tight turns routinely caused problems for freight trucks and backed-up traffic through the downtown area.
“We have been working with the Vermont Agency of Transportation on this project for nearly 15 years and are thrilled to see it finally come to fruition,” said Gary Santy, Stantec principal-in-charge of the project. “It’s an impressive accomplishment for the state of Vermont that will undoubtedly improve traffic throughout this whole area. We’re extremely proud to have played a role in it.”
The highway’s design is somewhat unique to Vermont, creating the first single-point diamond interchange in the state as well as the first interchange to incorporate a welcome center within its interior. The project was also designed to accommodate future expansion, if needed.