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2018 Update #62

A Year Nearly Past

It’s the holiday season and the end of 2018 is quickly drawing near!

Before we check in with the project, I want to say a quick thank you to all who have gotten in touch with questions and suggestions and words of encouragement this year. I’m glad to be your eyes and ears on the project. I hope I’ve captured some of what this construction project looks like up close, in words and pictures.

And so this construction project’s first big season is also drawing to a close.

Work that began in March with the clearing of trees along Otter Creek will see the finish line at the end of January. During these past 9 months we’ve witnessed the construction of a new system designed to better manage stormwater making its way to Otter Creek below the Falls. That system eventually will extend beneath the new downtown tunnel and rail line and up into the Town Green.

This phase of the project, though fundamentally simple in concept, was technically challenging to construct, primarily owing to its location. It was also fascinating to watch and to come to understand how things work. I’d like to take some time during the early weeks of 2019 to reflect back on what we experienced and learned this year.

So let me bring you up to date on where we are.

The photograph below shows, in silhouette, a Carrara concrete pump delivering one of 36 truckloads of “flowable fill,” a sand-based material that can be applied in a flow and that then hardens similar to cement. Its purpose is to provide solid support for the three stormwater pipes that interconnect midair in the Launch Pit, underneath Printer’s Alley. The second photo shows the point of connection.

The flowable fill pumped in on a sunny Thursday brought the bottom of the Launch Pit up, from 38 feet to 30 feet deep. Soon our “big hole” will vanish, filled to the brim with truckloads of “granular fill,” compacted stone that will bring the Launch Pit’s surface up to the surrounding land.

The northern and southern pits (3 and 2, respectively) will undergo a similar flowable fill process and that will take us right to the end of 2018, with further work and more updates to come in January and beyond.

Before I sign off for the year, I wanted to let you know how much the construction crew has enjoyed working in Middlebury. They know that a project of this magnitude is bound to be disruptive and so appreciate the warm welcome and the interest in their work from the community.

Wishing you peace and good times with families and friends over the holidays!

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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