A new bypass being built to steer trucks away from streets in downtown Bennington, Vt. will relieve congestion and boost the region's trade, Federal Highway Administrator J. Richard Capka said.
"Transportation projects like this one that take freight traffic off local roads are good for communities, local business and the economy because time and money are saved when goods move more freely through the system," Capka said.
The nation's top highway official was invited to Bennington by the Vermont Agency of Transportation Secretary Neale Lunderville to get a tour of the Bennington bypass that included a drive on the completed western leg and a preview of the project's northern leg, scheduled to begin construction this summer. The planned northern leg will include a new systems interchange and a welcome center.
Combined, the western and northern segments of the project represent the full east-west bypass for traffic to and from New York into Vermont and will reduce the number of trucks going through downtown Bennington.
Capka said truck traffic will increase significantly in the coming years and that "without the bypass, downtown Bennington would become a parade of trucks that clog the roadways and disrupt a vibrant community." He noted that 37.9 million tons of goods worth $32 billion were shipped to, from and within Vermont in 2002 and that by 2020, those figures are projected to increase to 54.4 million tons worth $60 billion.
Capka added that the completed bypass will allow freight to move through the region without disrupting the quality of life in historic towns.