Vermont 289 provides a bypass around the urban area of Essex. In 1965, the Essex Junction Belt Line was planned to travel closer to the village center and carry the Vermont 15 designation. This map shows some of what the 1965 Greater Burlington Urban Area Highway plan included.
Interstate 289 was a later addition to many proposed freeways in the 1965 Greater Burlington Urban Area Highway Plan. See the Burlington focus page for detail.
Vermont 289, known as the Chittenden County Circumferential Highway, represents a planned freeway bypass of Interstate 89 in the Burlington metropolitan area. A 15.8-mile long highway, Vermont 289 represents a limited access super-two freeway with climbing lanes built within a four-lane right-of-way. Congress devoted $50 million to the project through a FHWA Demonstration Grant as part of the 1982 Surface Transportation Act. The state of Vermont overtook the highway in 1986 after the completion of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Record of Decision (ROD). Origins of the route stem as far back as 1967 with local municipalities adding provisions in their comprehensive plans. In 1975 the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission included the circumferential highway within their regional plan.
The benefits of Vermont 289 include the redistribution of traffic on the radial routes that serve the northern and eastern areas of metro Burlington. The highway is divided into ten segments, labeled Segments A through J. Design and land acquisition was completed by the end of 1986 for the entire routing and construction resulted in the completion of Segments C through F in October of 1993. The four-mile section of Vermont 289 between Vermont 2A (Colchester Road) and Vermont 117 (River Road) bypasses the town of Essex Junction.
In 2003, the original 1986 Environmental Impact Statements were reviewed on the remaining sections of the Chittenden County Circumferential Highway (Segments A & B in Williston and Segments G through J at Colchester). Litigation on the original statements determined that new EIS are necessary on all remaining unbuilt segments of Vermont 289. Preparations began on the Williston EIS for Vermont 289 on November 26, 2004. Completion of the EIS should be complete by Spring 2006. An EIS timetable for the Colchester section of Vermont 289 has not been set.
The four-mile segment of Vermont 289 includes interchanges at Vermont 2A (Colchester Road), Vermont 15 (Center Road), and Vermont 117 (River Road). The Super-Two freeway features generous rock cuts and provisions at both ends for the eventual extensions. Interchanges along the route are numbered based upon a mileage-based system:
Exit 1 - Vermont 127 (Heinburg Drive)
Exit 3 - Interstate 89
Exit 5 - U.S. 2 & 7 (Theodore Roosevelt Highway)
Exit 7 - Vermont 2A
Exit 9 - Vermont 15
Exit 12 - Vermont 117
Exit 13 - Redmond Road
Exit 15 - Interstate 89
Vermont 289 Western Terminus - Vermont 2A - north of Essex Junction, Vermont
Perspective from Vermont 289 west
Vermont 289 constitutes a three-lane freeway between Vermont 15 (Upper Main Street) and Vermont 2A (Colchester Road). The eastbound direction includes a truck climbing lane for the stretch between Colchester and Suzie Wilson Road and junction Vermont 15. Pictured here is the 0.50-mile guide sign for the ramp to Vermont 2A (Exit 7). Photo taken 07/22/05.
Generous rock cuts are found along the scenic Vermont 289 alignment between Vermont 117 and Vermont 2A. The Exit 7 guide sign directs motorists to Vermont 2A (Colchester Road) well in advance of the Vermont 289 ending. Photo taken 07/22/05.
Road ends 1,500 feet warning sign posted on Vermont 289 westbound as it nears Vermont 2A (Colchester Road). Similar signs are posted along Interstate 189 westbound in South Burlington. Photo taken 07/22/05.
Traffic finally reaches the Exit 7 off-ramp to Vermont 2A (Colchester Road). Grading work and some pavement already are ready for the western extension of Vermont 289 between the Exit 7 on and off-ramps. Photo taken 07/22/05.
A set of traffic signals govern the movements between the end of Vermont 289 and Vermont 2A (Colchester Road). Vermont 2A comprises a surface bypass route for U.S. 2 between Williston and Colchester through the Essex Junction town center. The highway ends at U.S. 2 & 7 3.1 miles to the north near the north end of Vermont 127. Photo taken 07/22/05.
Perspective from Suzie Wilson Road east
Traveling Suzie Wilson Road eastbound on the approach to junction Vermont 2A (Colchester Road) and the eastbound beginning of Vermont 289. Suzie Wilson Road saw extension in 1993 to tie into Colchester Road opposite of the eastbound on-ramp to Vermont 289. Photo taken 07/22/05.
The intersection of Suzie Wilson Road intersection with Vermont 2A (Colchester Road) and the on-ramp to Vermont 289. At present Vermont 289 ends at a half-diamond interchange at Colchester and Suzie Wilson Roads. Vermont 2A travels between the town centers of Essex Junction and Colchester otherwise. Photo taken 07/22/05.
Vermont 289 Eastern Terminus - Vermont 117 - east of Essex Junction, Vermont
Perspective from Vermont 289 east
Vermont 289 eastbound nears its conclusion at junction Vermont 117 (Pearl Street) near the Winooski River. The super-two freeway sees a Road Ends 1,500 Feet warning sign on the approach to the half-diamond interchange with Pearl Street. Photo taken 07/22/05.
One half mile north of the Vermont 117 (Pearl Street) ramp of Vermont 289 eastbound. Vermont 117 loops eight miles northwest from U.S. 2 at Richmond to junction Vermont 2A & 15 at the Essex Junction town center. Photo taken 07/22/05.
Eastbound at the Exit 12 off-ramp to Vermont 117 (Pearl Street) in eastern Essex Junction. Photo taken 07/22/05.
Looking at the premature end of Vermont 289 at the Exit 12 ramp departure. An EIS is underway involving the three-mile extension of Vermont 289 to Interstate 89 within the town of Williston. Photo taken 07/22/05.
Descending along the Exit 12 off-ramp to junction Vermont 117 (Pearl Street). Travelers destined to Interstate 89 should use Vermont 117 southbound. The state highway ends at U.S. 2 adjacent to the Exit 11 interchange with Interstate 89 six miles to the southeast. Photo taken 07/22/05.
Perspective from Vermont 117 south
Vermont 117 (Pearl Street) widens in anticipation of the eventual full-diamond interchange with Vermont 289. Pictured here is the approach to the westbound beginning of Vermont 289 on Pearl Street eastbound. Photo taken 07/22/05.
Traffic to Vermont 15 (Centre Road) is advised to take Vermont 289 westbound from Vermont 117 (Pearl Street) in east Essex Junction. Vermont 289 interchange with Vermont 15 2.4 miles to the north. Photo taken 07/22/05.
Perspective from Vermont 117 north
Westbound along Vermont 117 (Pearl Street) on the approach to junction Vermont 289. Vermont 117 constitutes a two-lane rural highway between Richmond, Williston, and Vermont 289 in Essex Junction. Photo taken 07/22/05.
Traffic interests are again advised to use Vermont 289 west to Vermont 15 from Vermont 117 (Pearl Street). Vermont 117 continues west 2.3 miles to junction Vermont 2A (Park / Lincoln Streets) and Vermont 15 (Pearl / Main Streets). Use Vermont 289 west to Suzie Wilson Road west for Vermont 15 (College Parkway) and the city of Burlington. Photo taken 07/22/05.
Planned Western Terminus - Vermont 127 - north of Burlington, Vermont
The current thinking is that the Chittenden County Circumferential Highway will end at the Winooski River crossing of Vermont 127 (Winooski Valley Parkway). Planning for Vermont 289 takes the super-two freeway to a merge with the Winooski Valley Parkway at the Winooski River. Vermont 127 intersects Plattsburg Avenue at a signalized intersection to the south before upgrading to a super-two expressway into north Burlington. Photo taken 07/22/05.
Vermont 127 (Winooski Valley Parkway) northbound between Plattsburg Avenue and the Winooski River bridge. The Winooski Valley Parkway, originally envisioned as the northernmost extant of Interstate 189, represents a controlled-access expressway between Manhattan Drive in central Burlington to the Colchester town line at the Winooski River. VTRANS will conduct an Environmental Impact Statement on the western extension of Vermont 289 to Vermont 127 sometime after 2006. Photo taken 07/22/05.
Planned Eastern Terminus - Interstate 89 - South Burlington, Vermont
Planning for the Chittenden County Circumferential Highway brings the southern terminus of the super-two freeway at Interstate 89 one half mile east of the Exit 12 diamond interchange with Vermont 2A (Essex Road). VTRANS is presently preparing an EIS for the Vermont 289 extension from Vermont 117 to Interstate 89. The future Exit 11A should lie between Vermont 2A and a rest area within the town of Williston. Photo taken 07/22/05.
Interstate 89 northbound one half mile east of the Exit 12 off-ramp to Vermont 2A (Essex Road). The grassy area just east of Essex Road is the likely location for the Vermont 289 eastern terminus. Construction on the southward extension of the Chittenden County Circumferential Highway may begin in 2007. Photo taken 07/22/05.