Middlebury Rail Spur Environmental Impact Statement
Middlebury, VT | Vermont Agency of Transportation
Project was named the 2010 ACEC Vermont "Grand Award Winner for Engineering Excellence"
This project involves preparing an environmental impact statement (EIS) for proposed freight transportation improvements for moving marble ore and other freight from the vicinity of a quarry in Middlebury to the main rail line and points south in Vermont. The EIS for the proposed rail spur project was prepared to assess the project's natural and cultural resource impacts, review alternative solutions, and reach a preferred alternative following the standards of a Context Sensitive Solution process. The EIS determined that the best alternative was a new railroad spur connect to the existing Vermont Railway mainline track, thus removing a portion of truck traffic from local roads and the historic Brandon Village.
The 3.2-mile rail spur will allow heavy trucks on Route 7 and village roads to switch to freight rail, thus improving traffic safety, reducing noise, and improving the quality of life in the Town of Brandon. Approximately a quarter of the daily truck traffic will be removed from downtown Brandon Village, a vibrant and scenic Vermont village within a National Register Historic District. Benefits include better access to rail and more direct and cost-effective means of transporting goods, as well as a more efficient multimodal transportation system for the State of Vermont.
With many vocal interest groups, both for and against the project, VTrans needed a comprehensive public participation program and a technically and legally sound EIS. MJ and its Team provided a broad range of expertise for the project, including environmental services, as well as rail, bridge, and highway design; visual simulations and analysis; economic analysis; air and noise impact studies; and natural/cultural resource assessments. The integration of technical support and resource studies in addition to the incorporation of stakeholder input led to the success of this complex project.