MANCHESTER - The town of Manchester received a planning grant from the Vermont Department of Economic Housing and Community Development on Wednesday to revisit, among other things, cost estimates of the Depot Street Corridor study that was first conducted in 2004.

"I am very pleased they saw the merit of our application that we submitted, gave us the full amount we requested and we intend to launch this as soon as possible," said planning commissioner Lee Krohn.

The town received the full amount of $7,200 as requested in the application.

According to the application, the purpose and goals of the plan are to calm traffic on the corridor of Depot Street and return it to a more beautiful and pedestrian friendly street. The town will also look into moving the electrical substation at the bottom of Center Hill Road to a nearby location already owned and operated by CVPS / Green Mountain Power.

"In building on the positive momentum of the roundabout this is the next logical street to work on," said Krohn. "This grant would accomplish several essential goals. One, it would update cost estimates. Two, it would really revisit the concept to make sure it is still sensible. Third, it would identify any other opportunities or constraints. Fourth, and a key part of this, is performing a cost estimate as to what it would take to relocate the electrical substation at the bottom of Center Hill."

In all the total amount to complete the project is estimated at $7,200, which is fully covered by the grant amount requested.


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No percentage match from the town if required.

The tasks to be completed are five-fold. To update the estimates of construction costs, to analyze feasibility, opportunities and constraints, to analyze issues and costs for substation relocation, to estimate total cost to relocate electrical substation, and the present information and results to Town Boards.

The project, only in the preliminary stages of getting approval, aims to provide a safer environment along Depot Street. Currently, the street is set-up the same way it was approved in 1987 when the former two-lane Depot Street was changed to three lanes to help improve the flow of traffic.

"It had the unintended consequence of taking a downtown street and turning it into a highway. It's three lanes and 40-plus feet wide, it looks like a highway and everyone tends to drive fast," said Krohn. "It's not comfortable to pedestrians and safety is an issue at times."