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2018 Update #44

Summer’s End

The kids are back in school, the class of 2022 arrives on campus in a few days, and here we are at Labor Day Weekend. Wow, summer went fast.

We’re also now six months into construction. Let’s catch up on the latest news.

Merchants Row Plan Finalized

At its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday evening, the Selectboard approved the final plan for Merchants Row to continue as a one-way street once construction on the rail and bridge project is completed in 2021.

The plan was developed by VHB based on input from downtown business and property owners, the town’s Infrastructure Committee, our police and fire chiefs, and the Selectboard. Two primary drivers were pedestrian safety and, you guessed it, parking.

The diagram below shows the approved layout. It features 44 parking spaces, including 2 handicapped spaces. The sidewalk in front of the Battell Building has been widened by six feet to create space for future outdoor dining. Parallel parking alongside Triangle Park will also serve as a safe truck loading zone for deliveries to downtown businesses. And the crosswalk in front of the Battell driveway has been pushed back from the drive entrance to improve driver visibility of pedestrians in the crosswalk.

Construction Update

This week in Printer’s Alley the Tunnel Boring Machine continued to make slow and steady progress in boring the 5-foot-diameter tunnel that will extend some 140 feet from the launch pit’s rock face out to Otter Creek.

In the photo below, taken Wednesday afternoon, the orange 20’ mark indicates the length of the section of steel casing that is following the TBM into the tunnel and the blue markings indicate the number of feet from that mark to the head of the tunnel, in this case, 32 feet. The green and white PVC pipe emerging from the steel casing is supplying air to the Robbins technician who is actually positioned inside the TBM to operate its controls. The green beach umbrella (non-standard issue) is to shade the operator of “the pusher” that is driving the steel casing forward.

Next week will be more of the same. Latest estimate has the first of three tunnels, the one currently underway to Otter Creek, being completed in mid-September.

In Triangle Park, Maine D&B held the first of two blasts on Wednesday in Receiving Pit 2, the southern arm of the drainage system. All went as planned and there will be one more blast in Triangle Park, tentatively next Thursday, September 6.

This week and early next Kubricky and Middlebury firm Nop’s Metalworks will continue stabilizing the slope in Triangle Park with whalers and timber lagging while excavating down to a final depth of about 24 feet below track level.

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.

As I mentioned last week, with the exception of a gated entryway to be installed at its northern (Battell Block) end, work on the temporary access road connecting Water Street to the Battell Building parking lot is now complete.

That’s all for today. Enjoy the holiday and 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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