After 15 years of planning, spirited community discussions and construction, the Burlington & Colchester Trail Bridge officially opened on August 1st, 2004 with hundreds of enthusiastic trail users. The bridge, and its associated ½-mile elevated boardwalk, is the keystone that has permanently united the Burlington Bike Path and the Colchester Causeway into a stunning 12-mile regional trail.
Thank you to those responsible for the public and private funding that made this project possible. Sources of public funding included the Federal Highway Administration, State of Vermont, Chittenden County Metropolitan Planning Organization, Town of Colchester, and City of Burlington. Generous private funding (Lois McClure, Bari & Peter Dreissigacker, Lisa Steele and an anonymous donor) completed the project.
As a critical link connecting the Burlington Bike Path and the Colchester Causeway, the Burlington-Colchester Trail Bridge project is comprised of two main components:
- A three span bridge on the rehabilitated abutments of former Rutland Railroad bridge
- A 2,500 ft elevated boardwalk through the environmentally-sensitive floodplain of Colchester’s Delta Park
This structure replaces Local Motion’s Winooski River Bike Ferry - an interim service (2000-2004) that proved the demand and viability of the connection across the river. While popular, the ferry was unable to operate in the spring or early summer due to high water (the Colchester dock was located in a floodplain). The ferry was moved north along the trail to the 200’ cut in the 3-1/2 mile long Colchester-South Hero Causeway.
The former railroad bridge over the Winooski River was dismantled in 1972 – only 8 years before citizens organized to redevelop the rail line into a trail. Below is a picture of the main span of the beautiful new bridge.