Colchester Causeway Path

Storm Damage Updates

UPDATE [6/29/18]: Official Statement from Aaron Frank, Town Manager: "The Town of Colchester is pleased to announce the re-opening of the Colchester Causeway on Friday, June 29, 2018 at 1:00 PM. We appreciate the acknowledgment that the Colchester Causeway Path is a statewide asset for recreation and economic activity. We thank the State of Vermont and VTrans for their financial and operational support for the interim repairs."  We will continue to update this page if further work needs to be done to the path.

UPDATE [6/15/18]: Work on the Colchester Causeway will begin Monday, June 18 @ 7AM! The entire Causeway Path, including the Mills Point Parking Lot, will be CLOSED during this time due to the equipment moving along the path. The goal is to be completed by July 3, but we will update when the path is reopened. Thank you for your continued patience and understanding! 

UPDATE [6/5/18]: See below for a formal Press Release from the Vermont Agency of Transportation on the status of Causeway repairs.

For Immediate Release

Contact: Wayne Symonds, VTrans Chief Engineer, Email Wayne Symonds, 802-279-8745

Causeway and Allen Point repair efforts underway with intent to reopen in July

June 5, 2018 / Montpelier, Vt. – A joint effort between the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans), the Town of Colchester, and the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department is underway to repair the Colchester Causeway Path and Allen Point Access Area, following storm damage that occurred in May and required a portion of the major recreation and tourist site to be closed due to safety concerns.

Residents and tourists alike utilize the Causeway year-round to walk, bike, and fish, but use of the iconic destination peaks during the summer months when the Local Motion Causeway Ferry is operational. On the busiest of summer days, upwards of 900 bicyclists and pedestrians visit the popular path. Due to the statewide economic and recreational impact of the path, VTrans Secretary Joe Flynn has expedited repairs, with the hope to reopen the path in early July.

“Getting the causeway open in time for the summer biking season is important for the community and our tourism sector, so I greatly appreciate the work of our state and local officials to move the project forward quickly,” said Governor Phil Scott. “I was pleased to meet with the team working on this project last week, and I look forward to seeing the causeway reopen this summer, as Vermonters and tourists alike look to take advantage of this great outdoor recreation area.”

“The Causeway provides an important recreation and transportation link for Vermonters, in addition to bringing visitors that contribute to our economy. VTrans is working closely with the Town of Colchester and Fish and Wildlife to expedite repairs,” said Secretary Flynn. “With the short notice on this project, we are putting the call out to the contracting community, who we know is already busy improving our infrastructure throughout the state during our short construction season.”

Colchester Town Manager Aaron Frank stated that, “The Causeway, jutting out into the middle of the State’s great Lake Champlain for three miles, is an asset to the Town of Colchester, the region, and the State. The Causeway’s beauty also makes it vulnerable. The Town appreciates the partnership that originally re-purposed the area for fishing, walking, and cycling, and which remains in place for these significant repairs.”

“Local Motion is grateful for the dedication and the hard work by Colchester officials and state agencies to elevate the importance of this public asset and to allocate the resources necessary to fix it quickly. This shows a genuine commitment to not just the biking and walking public, but to the importance of outdoor recreation to our local and state economies,” stated Karen Yacos, Local Motion Executive Director.

VTrans, Fish and Wildlife, and the Town of Colchester are working together closely and have had engineers survey the damage using global positioning systems, which will aid in the development of initial project plans and in identifying a staging area for materials and equipment, which presents a unique challenge for this former rail line into Lake Champlain. VTrans plans to release a Request for Proposals to construction companies in early June and anticipates construction will begin shortly thereafter.

Officials warn that the upcoming construction activities will impact access to the path for pedestrians, bicyclists, and anglers. While upcoming construction will focus on repairing the path for safe recreation, additional improvements to make the Causeway more resistant to future storms may be programmed in the future. For additional information and ongoing updates on the Colchester Causeway Path, visit www.colchestervt.gov/2971/Colchester-Causeway-Path.

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causeway_open_to_this_point

UPDATE [5/18/18]: The Local Motion Bike Ferry will not be running for the 2018 season.  Visit their website for complete details.

UPDATE [5/10/18]: We have found that there is structural damage to the bridge on the Causeway, therefore, the path will be closed PRIOR TO the Bridge.

The area from Mills Point to just before the bridge will remain open.

UPDATE [5/9/18]: After initial assessments of the damage to the Causeway, we have reopened the portion from Mills Point to the first bridge. The area after the bridge (to the Cut) will remain closed due to safety concerns. Please abide by the signs out there and refrain from use past the bridge! We’ll continue to update on social media as we receive more information. 



The Colchester Causeway 5K/10K/15K Race scheduled for 6/2/18 has been changed to just a 5K.  Racers that have already registered for the 10K or 15K will be contacted with the option to transfer to the 5K or request a refund.  The 5K race will be maxed at 300 runners.  Visit the event page for details.

5/5/18 NOTICE: High winds and heavy rains on 5/4/18 resulted in the formation of sink holes, clearing of surfacing, and heavy debris on the Colchester Causeway Path. From Mills Point to the bridge has limited damage, but past the bridge is showing major damage. Due to safety concerns, the Town of Colchester will be closing the path until further notice while we assess the damage and determine the extent of repairs. Visitors, especially those on bicycles, are strongly cautioned. We do not recommend using the path at this time.

5/18/18: Preliminary Estimates for Damage Repair

Town Manager Aaron Frank & Parks & Recreation Director Glen Cuttitta have compiled the following information as of 5/17/18:

  • On Friday, May 4th, the Colchester Causeway sustained significant damage from heavy rain and strong winds at a time when the lake level was very high. 
  • On Saturday, May 5th, Parks & Recreation Director Glen Cuttitta surveyed the trail and determined it was not safe for public use.  After consulting Town Manager Aaron Frank, it was decided to close the path to the public.
  • On Monday, May 7th, Krebs & Lansing, a consulting engineering company that assisted with repairing the Causeway in 2012, began a damage evaluation to form a preliminary cost estimate. 
    • They estimate $458,000 to repair the path alone.
    • Stabilizing the bridge, which sustained structural damage in the storm, is estimated to cost roughly $105,000.
    • Due to the high water levels, these estimates could increase if additional damage is found below the current water level.
    • Total current estimate for Causeway and bridge repair stands at $563,000.

  • When the Causeway was damaged in similar storms in 2012, it was eligible for FEMA funding through the State of Vermont.  FEMA funding is based on statewide damage estimates with a threshold of $1M total and a certain dollar amount per citizen in each area of the state.  If these specific thresholds are met for the May 4th storm, FEMA will typically fund up to 75% of the total estimated repair cost.
    • The best case scenario is that the Town would need to obtain roughly $56,300 to be the local 10% match to FEMA funds.  (Based on our experience in 2012, the where we needed a 10% local match due to the State of Vermont covering 15% of the local match).

This situation will continue to evolve.  All figures are estimates only.  Visit http://colchestervt.gov/2971/Colchester-Causeway-Path for the most up-to-date information.  Additional questions should be directed to Glen Cuttitta at gcuttitta@colchestervt.gov or call 802-264-5641.

Causeway water walkway

Experience the most unique bike path in the North East!  Converted from an old railway line, this hidden gem is a 10 ft-wide, 4-mile long gravel path extending to the middle of Lake Champlain with scenic views of the lake, Vermont Green Mountains, and New York Adirondack Mountains. A "Cut" at the end of the path allows boats to path through, while local bike advocacy group Local Motion operates a seasonal bike ferry to transport visitors across the cut to the South Hero side of the path.