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2018 Update #56

More Color Downtown; Counting Down the TBM

Even as our world slowly turns to brown and gray, more artful color materialized downtown in the form of another public art installation surrounding the Triangle Park construction.

The new aquatic-themed work, shown here, was designed by local artist Peg Lawrence, who led the Congregational Church Youth Group in creating the latest addition to the Neighbors Together fence art project.

Peg Lawrence and Pat Durfee are 2018-2019 co-presidents of the Middlebury Garden Club, which, I’ve just learned, is one of the oldest garden clubs in the state, dating back to 1933. You’ve seen their work at the Sheldon Museum and Ilsley Library, among other places.

As I mentioned last week, the downtown public art project is organized by our Neighbors Together community action group with funding provided by the Vermont Agency of Transportation and creative direction by Town Hall Theater’s Artistic Director Doug Anderson.

Your Weekly Construction Update

Our friend the Tunnel Boring Machine, its days in town now counting down, continued to make steady (if rather goopy) progress in drilling the tunnel that will connect the Launch Pit to Receiving Pit 3. As of late Thursday, the TBM sits 90 feet in on a journey of 143 feet. ECI expects the TBM to complete this final segment of the new downtown drainage system next week.

Once the TBM finishes its job, ECI will focus on installing the drainage system’s carrier pipes we’ve talked about and then the concrete manhole structures, about which more later.

In other activity, Kubricky backfilled and paved the utility trench excavated last week behind the National Bank of Middlebury, a trench that contains conduits so that GMP and telecom providers can now place their lines underground. The photo below shows a sizable concrete vault, manufactured by S.D. Ireland, that will house the three-phase electrical connections. It will sit underground directly across from the Gas House (the stone building at the bottom of Printer’s Alley).

While excavating for the vault, Kubricky unexpectedly encountered bedrock, which meant, as many of you probably heard on Thursday, the return of the hoe ram to hammer it out. Thanks to all for your patience, that work is now done and Kubricky will set the vault in place Friday morning.

GMP was in town en masse on Thursday to underground the electric line that runs from Bourdon Insurance across Merchants Row to supply electric power to St. Stephen’s. Kubricky will now backfill the area with stone and then mulch and generally clean up that corner of the park.

In preparation for winter, Kubricky also paved the pedestrian pathway that leads from Marble Works across the Otter Creek footbridge to Mill Street.

A reminder that the Town Offices are closed on Monday to mark Veteran’s Day, though the construction crew will be working that day. Looking ahead to Thanksgiving week, construction will stop at noon on Wednesday and pick up again 7 AM Monday morning.

What We’re Reading

Have you read Rebecca Makkai’s novel The Great Believers? It’s set in 1980s Chicago during the early days of the AIDS crisis. It’s an inevitably sad though beautifully written story. You can read more about this exceptional book on the Vermont Book Shop website here. (You may have seen Makkai, who spends part of the year in Vermont, in conversation with Stephen Kiernan earlier this summer at the Marquis Theatre.)

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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