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Temporary Bridges Update #43

Two Days To Go; Our Downtown Still Needs You

As we prepare to reopen Merchants Row, I want to remind everyone about the importance of continuing to support our downtown businesses. Some of our downtown stores have enjoyed good sales results despite the week-long closure of both Main Street and Merchants Row. Others have just managed to hold their own. But it’s clear that a few businesses suffered losses, some significant, as a result of this summer’s construction project and it may take several weeks of strong sales to climb out of those losses. I encourage you to continue to shop and eat downtown. And don’t forget that downtown includes the Marble Works. Oh, and as of this weekend, there’s plenty of parking downtown now. Plus you’ll want to see the “new” Merchants Row! So come on down.

Wednesday Wrap-Up. As planned, J. Hutchins (Richmond VT) arrived early Wednesday morning to lay down what’s referred to as the “binder coat” of asphalt on Merchants Row. You can now see the Merchants Row roadway taking shape. Lafayette Highway Specialties (Essex Junction VT) was back in town to install chain-link fencing as they did on Main Street. And Carrara (see photo) delivered concrete so that Kubricky could construct the handicapped access points to the new crosswalks that will connect the lower and upper roadways of Merchants Row via the pedestrian lane on the temporary bridge. Final Note: Thanks for everyone’s patience driving down Main Street today. A major appliance delivery for the Battell Block rehab arrived this morning on Main Street just as Hutchins was moving in and out of the Main Street intersection to pave. Carrara also had to pour concrete from the Main Street Bridge, backing traffic up a bit during the evening rush. But we’re almost home.

What’s on Tap Thursday. Hutchins will finish paving Merchants Row by laying down the top coat of asphalt. Lafayette will continue installing fencing around the perimeter of Merchants Row to ensure safety for pedestrians. I’m told that Battell will have two more appliance deliveries on Thursday so thanks in advance for bearing with us one more day. If you can avoid driving down Main Street midday tomorrow, it might help your blood pressure.

That Left on South Pleasant Street. Trying to make that left-hand turn from South Pleasant Street onto Cross Street is challenging and occasionally dangerous because of the reduced sight lines. Here’s a tip from a reader: turn right on Cross Street, go around the roundabout, and come back up Cross Street. Yes, it might take you another minute or two but it may be well worth it. Plan B: if you’re traveling south on North Pleasant Street, just continue around Court Square and right on down Court Street (Route 7).

Downtown Information Booth Lineup for Thursday. Staffing the Middlebury Rail & Bridge Project information booth in Cannon Park on Thursday are Nancy Malcolm (12-2) and Charlotte Tate (2-4). Stop by and say hello to our volunteers, who will be showcasing all the great info on our town available at the booth.

A Gift for Kubricky. In his Addison Independent editorial last Thursday, Angelo Lynn observed, “What we’ve seen over the first several weeks of this project is a construction company willing to work with the town to make life as palatable as possible, have a little fun, and keep the conversation open to new ideas.” Many people have echoed this sentiment, telling me how impressed they are with Kubricky’s work ethic (14 hour days are the norm) and with their ability to keep the project on schedule while still taking time to say hello to onlookers, especially the kids. Our friends at Danforth Pewter took this one step further, presenting the Kubricky crew earlier this week with some very cool bulldozer key rings accompanied by the message “We dig you. Thank you from your friends at Danforth Pewter, Middlebury.” The guys were touched by this generous gesture.

That’s all for today. 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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