PUTNEY -- The Putney and Dummerston development review boards have both approved plans for a new state sponsored park and ride near Exit 4 on Interstate 91.
The facility has been in the planning stages for 12 years, and with the votes by the boards this week Agency of Transportation Project Supervisor Wayne Davis said the project will go out to bid soon and could possibly open up next year some time.
"Our goal has always been to get more of these facilities on the interstate," he said. "We have wanted to have one near Putney for a long time."
The $550,000 facility will be built right near the Putney Fire Station on land that the state owns.
The state wants to develop 82 parking spaces, with a bus turn around and bicycle racks.
The land is in both Putney and Dummerston so both DRBs had to approve the project.
The boards approved the project after a two-hour meeting that was held Tuesday night.
Davis said there were some tough questions at the meeting concerning lighting, the size of the facility and the materials the state plans to use to pave over the land near the fire station.
The state plans to use low wattage lights on 20 foot poles with the lights pointing down.
Davis said similar facilities in Vermont have proven to be very popular, with some of them already at capacity.
He said the state wanted build the Putney park and ride slightly larger than might be needed right away to allow for growth.
Typically, at other park and rides along Interstate 91, about half of the cars are from New Hampshire.
"We like to be proactive when we build these and plan for 10 or 15 or 20 years," Davis said. "It took us 12 years to get this far and we don’t want to have to start all over when we find we need more spots."
Windham Regional Commission Senior Planner Matt Mann said it appeared as though many of the concerns and questions were addressed during Tuesday night’s meeting.
According to Mann commuters tend to use the facilities more as they get used to being able to depend on the spots, and the park and rides are successful in getting more vehicles off the road.
He said the state made a strong case for the need for the facility, and also explained why the lighting was needed why the pavement was being used.
"People had questions but they received information at the meeting and based on the discussion they seemed more comfortable with it," Mann said. "This is a project that has been on the books for 12 years and it will be the first state park and ride in our region.
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at email@example.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 279. Follow Howard on Twitter .