SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — The city of South Burlington has been awarded a $9.7 million federal grant to build a bicycle and pedestrian bridge over Interstate 89, Vermont's congressional delegation has announced.

The Rebuilding American Infrastructure With Sustainability And Equity grant is from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Pedestrians and bicyclists now must travel across four on- and off-ramps next to traffic at the busiest interstate exchange in Vermont to cross Interstate 89 on U.S. Route 2, officials said recently. The bridge will provide a safe, protected and emissions-free way for bicyclists and pedestrians to travel between South Burlington and Burlington and connect the city center with key destinations such as the University of Vermont and the hospital, the delegation and city officials said.

“This project in the heart of Chittenden County will make it safer and easier for Vermonters to travel home and to work by bike or on foot,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy in a statement. “Part of the federal strategy to limit the worst impacts of climate change must be to invest in non-vehicular transportation infrastructure. Projects like this not only improve our transportation network but strengthen Vermont’s downtowns with environmentally sustainable projects.”

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