80 Feet Out; The Governor Comes to Town
Hope you enjoyed the Labor Day holiday weekend and weathered our early September mini-heat wave. Hard to believe we’ll see the 40s at night this coming weekend.
Earlier this week I had an opportunity to sit down with John Flowers at The Addy Indy to review what we’ve achieved during the first six months of construction and to take a look at the months ahead. You can read the story that John wrote based on that interview in Thursday’s edition of the paper.
Addison County Is Vermont’s Capitol for a Day
Before we get to the week in review, I wanted to let you know that there will be a little more activity than usual in town on Tuesday.
Governor Phil Scott and members of his administration, including Secretary of Transportation Joe Flynn, will be in Middlebury as part of the Governor’s “Capitol for a Day” initiative, a months-long tour of the state’s 14 counties designed to put the Governor and his cabinet in direct contact with local businesses, schools, community organizations, and municipal governments.
Last year Governor Scott became personally involved in our downtown bridge and rail project. He and Secretary Flynn met with town leaders and gave local citizens an opportunity to voice their concerns. This will be their first opportunity to view the work in progress.
After touring the construction site, Governor Scott and Secretary Flynn will meet with our own Neighbors Together group to learn more about NT’s plans, in partnership with state government, to help our community manage the economic and social impact of a three-year construction project in our central downtown. This meeting will take place at St. Stephen’s Church at 9:45 Tuesday morning. It is open to the public and you are encouraged to attend!
A Community-First Organization
Neighbors Together, as many of you know, is a true grassroots organization, formed in the early days of concern about the impact of the rail and bridge project on our town and representing many of Middlebury’s leading organizations. I thought you might be interested to know who sits on NT’s steering committee. These folks have invested countless hours to support our town and deserve our thanks.
Nancy Malcolm, co-chair (St Stephen's)
Linda Horn, co-chair (St Stephen's)
Ed McGuire (St Stephen's)
May Morris (St Stephen's)
Eric Davis (St Stephen's)
Karen Duguay (Better Middlebury Partnership)
Amey Ryan (Better Middlebury Partnership)
Caroline Carpenter (National Bank of Middlebury)
Peter Burrows (Addison Central School District)
Erika Garner (Addison Central School District)
Ron Hallman (Porter Medical Center)
Zoe Kaslow (Addison County Teens)
David Donahue (Middlebury College)
Amy Foote (Middlebury College)
Farhad Khan (Town of Middlebury Selectboard)
Linda Schiffer (member at large)
Ken Perine (member at large)
Now let’s catch up on the construction work itself.
More steady progress this week in Printer’s Alley as the Tunnel Boring Machine continued its 140-foot journey from the launch pit’s rock face out to Otter Creek. As of Thursday afternoon, we are at the 80-foot mark.
More of the same next week as Robbins and ECI work to complete the first of the three planned tunnels that comprise the drainage system. The Middlebury Fire Department will stage the second in a series of training exercises in the Launch Pit to ensure that they are prepared in the event a worker is injured and needs to be removed from the work area. (The photo below shows the stairway that workers use to get in and out of the Launch Pit.)
In Triangle Park, Kubricky and Middlebury firm Nop’s Metalworks continued working to stabilize the rail-side slope in Triangle Park. Maine D&B will conduct one more blast in Triangle Park. Originally scheduled for this week, that will now take place next Monday afternoon.
Following that blast, Kubricky will excavate Receiving Pit 2, the southern arm of the new drainage system, down to its final depth of about 24 feet below track level. Noise Alert: Some of the bedrock will have to be removed using the hoe ram (aka the loud hammering machine).
Still 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. Late Thursday afternoon the Middlebury Fire Department did a test run down the access road with both their pump truck and new aerial truck to ensure that they can respond to an emergency on the backside of the Battell Building.
Lest We Forget: The H20 Brigade
Members of Havurah (the Addison County Jewish Congregation) and Middlebury’s Quakers took over watering our downtown planters and flower boxes during the first three weeks in August. A special thank you (it was hot out there!) to Jean and David Rosenberg, Grace McGrath, Cecelia Dry, Judy Olinick, Peter Schenck, Laura Asermily, Alan Hewat, Emily Joselson, Becky Holmes, and Susan Smiley.
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.