Bristol and Lincoln get VTrans grants

BRISTOL/LINCOLN — The Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) has awarded grants to the towns of Bristol and Lincoln for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure improvement projects.

“Improvements to the bike and pedestrian infrastructure around the state help communities modernize and become more livable and affordable,” said Gov. Phil Scott in a press release issued last week. “The positive effects of these projects are widespread, including benefits to property values, tourism, business and the environment.”

Bristol will receive $42,000 for its Main Street Lighting and Sidewalk Improvement Project, the logistics and scheduling for which have been merged with an upcoming VTrans downtown paving project.

The award is one of 10 “small improvement projects,” totaling $300,000 in state funds, which are intended to address critical safety needs for pedestrian crossing and filling critical sidewalk gaps.

“We were able to obtain this largely because replacement of the (downtown) south side sidewalk is expected to improve drainage, safety and (Americans with Disabilities Act) access,” wrote Bristol Town Administrator Valerie Capels in an Aug. 30 report to the selectboard.

Lincoln will receive $32,000 in federal money to conduct a feasibility study for continuing the existing sidewalk on East River Road, which currently ends at the Old Hotel, farther east to the Lincoln Community School.

If an engineering firm determines that, despite significant challenges, the sidewalk project is viable, the town will apply for an engineering grant to determine how the project should be completed, Lincoln selectboard member Ellie Bryant told the Independent in an email.

The whole project is estimated to cost $800,000 over four years.

“It’s huge ... and slow,” Bryant said.

The VTrans Bicycle and Pedestrian Program awards funding to municipalities every year, “with the goal of providing safe and convenient facilities for alternative transportation opportunities.”

A 2016 long-range transportation plan survey conducted by VTrans determined that 31 percent of Vermonters were dissatisfied with the availability of sidewalks, according the press release.

“These grants address those concerns.”

Reach Christopher Ross at christopherr@addisonindependent.com

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