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2018 Update #43

Lights! Camera! Action!

Have you noticed how many people are in town? The fourth annual Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival, one of the premier events of the year in Middlebury, kicked off on Wednesday and will continue through Sunday. You can check out the entire program of films, panels, and parties here. Come out and support this very special event in our own backyard.

Downtown Survey Update

I was reminded that many folks are out of town this week and so will hold off on sharing the results of the Downtown Survey that I conducted earlier this month until after Labor Day. As a preview, I thought I would share some of the more unusual suggestions that surfaced for stores to replace Ben Franklin on Main Street. Here we go. A bowling alley (not that far-fetched). A Tesla dealership (pretty far-fetched). A pay toilet (pay?). A parking lot (no surprise). And, finally, a whole slew of restaurants: Mexican, Italian, Vietnamese, and Chick-fil-A. Are we a hungry town? More to come.

Merchants Row Update

As planned, VHB will return to the Selectboard next Tuesday with final refinements to the post-construction one-way plan for Merchants Row so that such details as width of sidewalks, positioning of bump-outs, final parking spots, etc., can be finalized.

Now let’s catch up with the construction project.

This week in Printer’s Alley the Tunnel Boring Machine got underway with its job of slowly and steadily boring the 5-foot-diameter tunnel that will extend 160 feet out to Otter Creek. The photo below shows the TBM a few feet into the rock face followed by 10 feet of the steel casing that will form the perimeter of the tunnel followed by “the pusher,” a diesel engine whose job is to push the TBM forward.

Next week production will begin in earnest and we’ll have an opportunity to better gage how long the job might take. The estimate to complete all three tunnels that make up the drainage system right now is about three months.

In Triangle Park, Maine D&B is back in town and began perimeter drilling of Receiving Pit 2, the southern arm of the drainage system. This particular drill is small but rather noisy, thanks for your patience.

Remember our period of blasting in June? That will return, briefly, in Triangle Park, with two expected blasts, probably toward the end of next week. I’ll be in touch with local businesses once I have a more definite timeframe. Kubricky will continue its work stabilizing the slope in Triangle Park as the excavation continues.

No activity for now at Receiving Pit 3, the northern arm of the new drainage system, located alongside the rail line in the Marble Works. A crane pad is being constructed at the drainage system outfall in Riverfront Park. This will support the weight of the crane when it comes time to pull the TBM out of the tunnel and return it to the Launch Pit.

Work on the temporary access road connecting Water Street to the Battell Building parking lot was completed this week. Best view of the completed roadway is from Battell Bridge and Cross Street Bridge.

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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