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2018 Update #60

Drone Encore, Another Landscape Design Update, Hot Coffee, Hot Lunch

I’m bringing back the VTrans Aviation drone footage that I’ve been sharing with you for a final encore.

This one, rather humbly titled “Hole in Ground,” gives you a good, if somewhat vertigo-inducing, bird’s eye view of the Launch Pit in the final stages of boring through to Receiving Pit 3 (which is visible at the end of the video). The steel casing that forms the perimeter of the drainage tunnels is seen at the bottom of the pit.

By the end of January, the Launch Pit will be a part of history so it’s good to have this footage to preserve what has been, for many, an intriguing and certainly very visible aspect of the construction project downtown.

You can link to the YouTube video here. Like the previous two videos, this one was shot on Tuesday, November 7.

Your Weekly Construction Update

This week ECI began installing the set of concrete structures in the Launch Pit that eventually will connect the three carrier pipes that make up the new drainage system.

The first photo below shows several of these concrete structures, which will be stacked one on top of another in the Launch Pit as well as in Receiving Pits 2 and 3, sitting in the Middlebury rail yard. In the second photo, the crane is lowering a concrete base into the Launch Pit.

Over in Riverfront Park, Kubricky began backfilling around the now nearly completed outfall, which is shown in the following photo (the footing is the bottom section, the headwall is the top section, the carrier pipe is the opening in the headwall).

Once the outfall is finished, Kubricky will restore Riverfront Park to its pre-construction condition, which will include reinstalling the two street lamps lighting the upper section of the paved pathway connecting the Marble Works to the pedestrian bridge over Otter Creek.

Construction is expected to continue into January.

Update on Landscape Design Concepts for Triangle Park and Printer’s Alley

On Wednesday evening, in a third and final public meeting, some 50 members of our community turned out to review and comment on revised landscape design concepts for Triangle Park and Printer’s Alley.

VHB’s Director of Land Planning and Landscape Architecture, Mark Hamelin, presented the latest iterations of the landscape plans, which had been revised in accordance with recommendations from Middlebury’s Planning Commission and Design Advisory Committee. As I reported last week, members of these two boards, at the Selectboard’s request, met with VHB to ask questions about aspects of the design and suggest changes that they believe would benefit the town.

The revised concept, which I’ve included below and is on display in the Town Offices, features, among other refinements, additional “hardscape” (e.g., paving stones and concrete) in the lower section of Triangle Park to provide a more versatile space for public events, a safer crossing from Main Street to Printer’s Alley, and the potential for an ADA-accessible pathway from Main Street to the Marble Works through the new Lazarus Park.

The public meeting featured two-plus hours of robust discussion in which differences of opinion and alternative solutions were aired and discussed and representatives from the Federal Highway Administration, the Vermont Agency of Transportation, and VHB were on hand to answer questions and elaborate on some of the restrictions that accompany federally funded projects like ours.

Next up, VHB and VTrans will make some final adjustments to the design and then ask the Selectboard to endorse its final recommended concept at the Selectboard’s Tuesday, December 11, meeting.

Hot Coffee, Hot Lunch

Our friends at Vermont Coffee delivered hot coffee to an appreciative construction crew on a cold Thursday morning this week. Following that, the ever-thoughtful folks at the National Bank of Middlebury served a home-cooked hot lunch to the crew in the Bank’s Community Room. One day in the future, our contractors are going to look back on their time in Middlebury as one of the best projects in their working life!

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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