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2018 Update #41

Tunnel Boring To Begin Next Week; Merchants Row To Remain One Way?

Before we get into the weekly review of construction activity, I wanted to let you know about some upcoming activities and events.

Main Street Bridge To Close for Repaving on Saturday Morning

As I reported earlier in the week, this Saturday, August 11, Kubricky will close both lanes of Main Street Bridge starting at around 6 AM in order to repave the bridge deck. (As planned, Kubricky stripped the deck on Thursday morning.) They expect to reopen the bridge by 10 AM, about the time that most of our downtown stores are opening for business.

Merchants Row One Way?

If you’re interested in the future configuration of Merchants Row, you might want to plan to attend the Selectboard meeting scheduled for next Tuesday, August 14, at 7 PM. Aaron Guyette, the project’s lead engineer, will present alternative plans for 1) returning Merchants Row to its pre-construction two-way traffic flow and 2) maintaining the current one-way roadway.

The one-way option has been unanimously endorsed by Middlebury’s Infrastructure Committee and by the Police Chief and Fire Chief. In their view, it’s safer (eliminating the left-hand turn from Merchants Row onto Main Street), it offers a more pedestrian-friendly streetscape, and it nets the downtown roughly 10 more parking spaces.

But it does represent a big change, albeit one we have gotten used to over the past year. Even if you don’t have a strong opinion, this should be an interesting discussion about the future of our central downtown area. (Unlike most Selectboard meetings, this one will take place in the Ilsley Library Community Room.)

The Return of the Downtown Block Party

Neighbors Together and the Better Middlebury Partnership are bringing back last summer’s hit event, the Downtown Block Party, on Wednesday, August 15, starting at 5 PM. The event features games, food, activities, and a free concert by The Horse Traders. Kids will have a blast. And Kubricky will be back with its excavator so that kids young and old can get in and have their picture taken. Best of all, all of our downtown stores will be open and Neighbors Together will launch its Midd Money Shop Local campaign (you earn money by shopping local). So come on down, support your town, and enjoy the fun! (Main Street will be closed that day from 2 PM - 10 PM, from Bakery Lane to the intersection with Merchants Row, to allow for setup.)

Now let’s catch up with the construction project.

This week in Printer’s Alley ECI finalized preparations for the arrival of the tunnel boring machine early next week. The photo below (taken from the roof of the Duclos Building by National Bank of Middlebury facilities manager Joel Bouvier) shows Carrara and ECI working together to pour the concrete pad on which the “TBM” will sit. We should begin boring the 5-foot-diameter tunnel that will extend 160 feet out to Otter Creek toward the end of next week.

In Triangle Park, Kubricky has nearly completed stabilizing the slope in preparation for excavating Receiving Pit 2, the southern arm of the drainage system. In the photo below, you can see timber lagging held in place by T angles that have been welded onto the steel minipiles. The angular steel structures, known as “whalers,” are designed to support the tiebacks, which are another method of slope stabilization.

Next week, Hayward/Baker will mobilize back into Triangle Park and drill the remaining six minipiles on the rail side of Receiving Pit 2, following which Kubricky and Maine D&B will begin excavating work.

Over at Receiving Pit 3, the northern arm of the new drainage system, located alongside the rail line in the Marble Works, Hayward/Baker completed drilling 17 minipiles this week. That effort completes work on Receiving Pit 3 for the next 3-4 weeks.

Work on the temporary access road connecting Water Street to the Battell Building parking lot will continue to take place next week depending on the weather and other priorities.

The Downtown Survey

Thanks to all who have responded to the one-question survey I sent out to help us think about the future of our downtown as we make our way through three years of construction. We are now up to 214 responses, which means 600+ ideas for stores we’d like to see downtown. I’ve been a little busy downtown this past week or two but promise to get you the results of the survey as soon as I can. If you haven’t done so, you can still take the survey here.

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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