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Temporary Bridges Update #36

Temporary Bridges Project Passes Halfway Point; Main Street Bridge To Reopen in 4 Days

As the calendar turns to August, we mark the halfway point of our construction project. Main Street Bridge will reopen on Saturday, Merchants Row Bridge the following Saturday, August 12.

How Are Our Downtown Businesses Doing? Apart from safety, the town’s primary concern has been the well-being of our downtown community. The midpoint of construction coinciding with the end of the month seems like a good time to check in on how our businesses are doing so I asked around today. Dan at Forth 'n Goal and Sue at Sweet Cecily told me that they’ve been busy and that business has been good in July. Others have noted that business has been soft since construction started. I’ll keep asking and let you know what I’m hearing. In the meantime, come on downtown. Together we make it a good August for everyone.

Federal Highway Administration Green Lights Rail & Bridge Project. One of the questions I’m most frequently asked is, “Jim, what’s the update on the overall downtown construction project?” I can now report out that last week VTrans announced that the Federal Highway Administration had signed off on the Environmental Assessment that took place in the first six months of the year and green-lighted the project to move ahead. In the next few days I’ll give you an overview of what that means and how the project will impact town over the next three years. What I can tell you right now is two things: 1) this summer’s construction is the worst disruption downtown we will see until June 2020; and 2) I plan to be providing you with updates until we say goodbye to Kubricky and put this project in the history books. Reminder: one of the key goals of the project is to improve the safety of the downtown rail line in preparation for bringing Amtrak’s Ethan Allen service to NYC to Middlebury. In 2018 Kubricky will build a new drainage system that will solve the long-standing problem of standing water on the rail line (see attached photo, taken today from the Main Street Bridge after several days without rain).

Monday Wrap-Up. Most of Monday’s action was on Merchants Row. As planned, Carrara delivered the precast concrete bridge abutments and Kubricky set the footings in place. Late afternoon, Kubricky moved the Mabey bridge for Merchants Row into the construction zone. Over on Main Street, Kubricky continued grading the north side of the Main Street Bridge in preparation for paving on Wednesday.

What’s on Tap Tuesday. Kubricky will begin building the Mabey bridge on Merchants Row while setting the backwall and wing walls in place on the west end of Merchants Row. Final grading of the Main Street roadway takes place.

Don’t Forget! Downtown Celebration Wednesday. Our friends at the Better Middlebury Partnership have planned a fun late afternoon/evening event right in the heart of downtown Middlebury for Wednesday from 4 PM – 8 PM. Spend $25 or more at any one of our downtown stores, all of which will be open, and enter for a chance to win a grand prize of $500 in Middlebury Money, a second prize of $250, and five runner-up prizes of $50. Special note to Mom and Dad: Bring the Kids! Kubricky will set up an excavator right in the Merchants Row/Main Street intersection. The National Bank of Middlebury will give away kid hard hats and kids can have their picture taken in the cab of the excavator. Live music, food, and community spirit round out the picture.

Downtown Information Booth Lineup for Tuesday. Staffing the Middlebury Rail & Bridge Project information booth in Cannon Park on Tuesday are May Morris (10-12), Susan McGarry (12-2), and Marjorie Lamberti (2-4). Stop by, say hello, and pick up your copy of the latest downtown map showing how to get around town during while both downtown bridges are closed. Hours of operation = 10 AM – 4 PM Monday-Saturday.

Thank You CCV. I want to end today’s update by giving a shout-out to our friends at the Community College of Vermont. CCV is located on the second floor of the Battell Building, overlooking both Merchants Row and Main Street. Faculty, staff, and students at CCV have had to navigate not only our construction project downtown but a full-scale rehab of the Battell Building itself during the past several weeks. We’re fortunate to have this post-secondary resource in Middlebury and I want to thank them for their patience and good humor during this disruptive summer.

See you downtown.

Please keep your comments and questions coming. Send me an email at and I’ll try to cover it in my next update.

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