The talk in town this week was, no surprise, the weather. Seeing these Road Work Ahead signs at all the approaches to town the past week also reminds us that the 2018 phase of rebuilding the rail line and our two bridges downtown is moving into gear.
Next week we’ll see a noticeable uptick in activity in Printer’s Alley and Triangle Park.
These two pieces of land sit at the center of our downtown. They are also key locations for the planned rebuild of the new downtown drainage system, a central improvement that the project brings to Middlebury.
Today I thought I would give you the straight rundown on next week: what’s planned and how it it’ll impact downtown life.
In the next few days we’ll look at how Neighbors Together, the Better Middlebury Partnership, and our town government are investing the state and federal grants supporting our downtown this year. Some great ideas there.
Quick reminder: the primary goal this year is to build a new drainage system for the rail corridor and the surrounding area downtown.
So here’s what we’re likely to see next week.
On Monday, subcontractor Donnelly Construction will install silt fences at locations along the rail corridor and above Otter Creek to prevent soil erosion. Kubricky also expects to set up a perimeter fence that’s required to mark the boundaries of the project. You may remember that this work was originally scheduled for this week. It was moved forward due to weather and scheduling.
On Tuesday, Kubricky will begin installing construction fencing around Printer’s Alley and Triangle Park. These are 6 x 12-foot chain-link fence panels that will be put in place by the contractor to create a safe and controllable construction zone for these two areas. Reminder to keep an eye out for “fence art” to debut later this spring!
On Wednesday, subcontractor ECI will mobilize into Printer’s Alley to start demolition of the concrete foundation of the old Lazarus building. This work will likely take place through the end of the week. Trucks will haul debris out of Printer’s Alley through the Marble Works. The point of this first phase is to get through the concrete to the soil and rock beneath so that excavation of the central pit of the new drainage system can begin. More about that in a future update.
By the way, I learned this week that there are only eight or so blasting events planned for this year. More on that in a future update as well.
Then on Thursday, Kubricky will remove and store our historic fountain in Triangle Park and dig up the six lilac trees and four lilac bushes planted there so that the Town can transplant them elsewhere.
Parking and Getting Around Town
So there will be some impact downtown. As I’ve mentioned in past notes, we’re going to lose those five parking spaces alongside Triangle Park on Main Street. Next week they will be fenced off to provide access in and out of Triangle Park for Kubricky. These parking spaces will be lost to the town for the duration of the project.
I understand the value of parking downtown, I see it every day. I thought we might have had an opportunity to hold onto those five spaces, at least some of the time. But here’s what’s driving the decision. Triangle Park is the south end of the new drainage system. Kubricky needs access to get the job done, well and safely. The Merchants Row side is a truck loading zone. Right now we need a space downtown for commercial deliveries. Entering and exiting from Main Street is really the best solution at this time. Let’s see how things go. Kubricky will employ flaggers to manage the traffic on Main Street when equipment and trucks are moving in and out of the area but please do keep an eye out.
Important reminder: Pedestrian access between Main Street and the Marble Works through Printer’s Alley will be maintained throughout the project. Flaggers will manage the flow of vehicles in and out of the Lazarus foundation and the National Bank’s parking lot.
There will be no impact next week on our roadways or downtown sidewalks.
Middlebury town gardener Lily Snow let me know that dozens of red and white tulip bulbs are starting to push up through the garden bed that lines the railing fence at the back of Triangle Park. Lily encourages anyone interested in tulips for their home gardens to dig these up this weekend before Kubricky fences off Triangle Park on Tuesday.
That’s all for today. See you downtown.
Please keep your comments and questions coming. Send me an email at email@example.com and I’ll try to cover it in my next update.