Circ Hearings on Thursday

Observer staff report

The Federal Highway Administration, Vermont Agency of Transportation and the Corps of Engineers will hold two joint meetings on Thursday, Oct. 4 to allow the public to comment on the Circumferential Highway.

The first meeting is scheduled for 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Champlain Valley Expo, 105 Pearl St., Essex Junction. The night meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Williston Central School Auditorium, 195 Central School Drive, Williston.

The original design for the Circ emerged more than 30 years ago as a 16-mile highway running from Interstate 89 in Williston to Vermont 127 in Colchester.

The Essex Junction portion of the highway opened in 2003, but legal disagreements delayed further construction until 2004. Soon after groundbreaking in Williston, however, a federal judge ruled that construction must stop until a new Environmental Impact Statement, or EIS, was filed.

The meetings will allow the public to comment on the draft EIS, which was published on Aug. 10. The draft EIS analyzes three main alternatives: a limited-access highway or a boulevard along the originally planned Circ route; widening Vermont Rte. 2A to three or four lanes through Williston and Essex and replacing some intersections with roundabouts; or constructing a hybrid that uses parts of each approach.

Written comments on the draft EIR can be submitted until Nov. 8, 2007 by mail to Kenneth Robie, Project Manager, Vermont Agency of Transportation, One National Life Drive, Drawer 33, Montpelier, Vt. 05633, by email to Ken.Robie@state.vt.us or by fax to 802-828-2437. Comments can also be mailed to Kenneth R. Sikora Jr., Environmental Program Manager, Federal Highway Administration Region 1, P.O. Box 568, Montpelier, Vt. 05601, emailed to Kenneth.sikora@fhwa.dot.gov or faxed to 802-828-4424. The project Web site is located at www.circeis.org.

Copies of the study are available at public libraries, including Dorothy Alling Library on U.S. 2 in Williston Village. The study can also be downloaded at www.circeis.org. A free CD-ROM containing the study can be obtained by contacting Sikora and Robie at the above addresses.