Lots to communicate today, including: a decision on the ACTR bus stops downtown, your opportunity to join the discussion about the new rail platform and the future of Triangle Park and Printer’s Alley, and an update on Carol’s. So let’s get right to it.
This week Maine Drilling & Blasting completed drilling the 130 “relief holes,” each of which is 38-feet deep, around the perimeter of the launch pit that will serve as the centerpiece of the new drainage system downtown.
Maine D&B’s hydraulic line drill then wrapped up its work by drilling a half dozen full-depth holes in the center of the launch pit.
That machine will now be swapped out for a considerably smaller air drill that will get to work drilling smaller-diameter holes within the pit’s perimeter in preparation for a test blast that will begin the lengthy process of excavating the entire launch pit down to 38 feet.
I’m told that the new drill is louder than the hydraulic line drill because its air-driven hammer sits on top of the steel drill. The sound may be more akin to that of a jack hammer. We’ll see.
ECI continued to prepare the Printer’s Alley site for excavation of the launch pit and, following that, the horizontal boring that will connect the four shafts that make up the new drainage system.
Also this week, as you can see in the photograph, the Neighbors Together community group got underway with one of the many projects planned to keep our downtown welcoming during construction, setting flower boxes and planters on the Main Street footbridge, at the top of Printer’s Alley, and at either end of the Merchants Row bridge.
Work this week will stop Friday at noon in preparation for the Memorial Day Holiday.
All sidewalks remain open, and no road closures are planned. The pedestrian pathway connecting Main Street to Marble Works through Printer’s Alley remains open. Please do pay attention to the flaggers as you walk through the area.
Monday is Memorial Day. On Tuesday, Maine D&B will begin drilling shorter, smaller-diameter holes in the launch pit in preparation for a test blast that they expect to conduct on Wednesday afternoon. The purpose of this test blast is to level the working area in Printer’s Alley while testing the blasting process.
I have the blasting protocol (what happens when) in hand and will communicate that to you in a separate posting on Tuesday.
Looking further ahead, the week of June 4 Kubricky expects to begin constructing the temporary access road that will connect the bottom of Water Street to the Battell Block parking lot. The purpose of this temporary road is to allow traffic in and out of the Battell lot when Merchants Row is closed in Summer 2020.
I’ve alerted the Water Street neighborhood to the start of construction and will have more details as work gets underway. The main impact of this work, which is expected to wrap up later in June, will be truck traffic in and out of Water Street loading in stone for the roadway and loading out the tree stumps and soil that sit alongside Otter Creek and the rail line.
Selectboard Approves Revised Plan for Downtown ACTR Bus Stops
On Tuesday night the Middlebury Selectboard approved a revised plan for the ACTR bus stops in front of the Post Office. The plan was developed collaboratively by the Department of Public Works and ACTR.
Here are the details.
One, the ACTR bus stop on the Village Green side of Main Street is eliminated and those three parking spots returned to the Town for public parking.
Two, the ACTR bus stop on the Post Office side of Main Street between the crosswalk and the Post Office driveway will remain in place. ACTR drivers will stay back from the crosswalk to improve line of sight for pedestrians and drivers. The handicapped parking space lost with this arrangement has been moved to the other side of the crosswalk and will be marked in the street.
Three, the ACTR bus moving eastbound on Main Street (toward the Congregational Church from the Cross Street roundabout) will no longer stop in front of Ilsley Library but will stop instead on Main Street next to the Battell Block 20 feet back from the crosswalk. This will become a signed bus stop but the bus will stop only if a rider has asked to get on or is waiting for the bus at the stop.
Join the Discussion
If you’re interested in the future of Triangle Park and Printer’s Alley, you’ll want to mark your calendar for Tuesday, June 5, 6:30 PM at the Town Offices. We’ll be holding the first of three public meetings to talk about what’s on the drawing board and what’s still to be planned.
And if you’re interested in where Middlebury’s rail platform will be located, that public meeting is Tuesday, June 19, 7 PM, also in the Town Offices.
Update on Carol’s
You may have noticed that Carol’s Hungry Mind Café has been closed this week. I was in touch with owner John Melanson, and he hopes to reopen the doors as soon as today. Carol’s has provided the town with a community center and John looks forward to welcoming back his many friends and neighbors.
That’s all for today. See you downtown.
Please keep your comments and questions coming. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll try to cover it in my next update.