A belated Happy New Year! I hope that 2019 is off to a great start for you. I’m looking forward to keeping you updated throughout the year as our downtown construction project continues into its second full year.
As I mentioned in my last post of 2018, the work currently underway will wrap up at the end of January and then we’ll start up again in April. During February and March, we’ll review what we accomplished in 2018 and set the stage for what’s to come this year—but it looks as though the impact on our downtown and on our community will be much the same in 2019 as it was this past year.
Your Weekly Construction Update
Even with two short holiday weeks and the onset of winter, a lot of work has taken place since our last update so let’s get right to it.
As you can see from the photo below, taken late Thursday afternoon, the floor of the Launch Pit, once located 38 feet beneath the surrounding area, continues to rise towards the surface.
What you’re looking at in the photo is the central structure into which stormwater will flow. It consists of several individual concrete structures manufactured by S.D. Ireland that are placed one on top of another. This particular piece is 8 feet high and weighs in at 25,000 pounds. Surrounding the structure is “granular fill for structures”—crushed stone that is compacted in the pit to prevent settlement. (That's Adam Piper, ECI field superintendent and MUHS grad, on the right.)
The pipes carrying stormwater into this central structure from the northern and southern pits sit below the granular fill, supported by the flowable fill that we discussed in our last update. (Flowable fill is a sand-based material that can be applied in a flow and that then hardens similar to cement.) The second photo below, taken Wednesday afternoon, is a last look at those pipes.
Next week ECI will continue to backfill the Launch Pit until it comes back up to the elevation of the surrounding surface.
Weekend Utility Work
VTrans has negotiated a weekend closure of the rail line through Middlebury so that Kubricky and ECI can install conduits that will carry electrical and telecom lines underneath the rail line. This is part of the larger plan to underground the utilities that cross Printer's Alley at the entrance to the Marble Works.
The work will take place this weekend on the section of rail between the northern end of Printer's Alley to the west and on the east side between the fire station and the Post Office.
On Friday, ECI will remove the rail, ties, and ballast and then excavate down about 15 feet beneath the rail surface. On Saturday, ECI and Kubricky will install the conduit and begin backfilling. On Sunday, backfilling will be completed, ballast installed, and the rail reset prior to inspection by Vermont Rail.
Kubricky and ECI expect to work until about 8 PM on Friday and Saturday evenings. Work could extend later into Friday evening if they hit ledge while excavating on Friday afternoon.
It’s going to be cold this weekend! If you’re in the area, give the construction crew a wave, I’m sure they would appreciate it.
It’s Winter, Let’s Think About Summer
Wednesday night I had an opportunity to attend the Festival on the Green annual meeting with Richard Ruane, Pat Boera, Glenn Goodwin, Walt Deverell, Julie Coons, and the many other volunteers who bring this special week of summer music and fun to Middlebury.
As in 2018, Festival on the Green, along with the St. Stephen’s Peasant Market, the Lions Club Auction, and the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival, will take place this year without interruption in central downtown.
On Thursday I attended a lively 90-minute roundtable in our Town Offices at which local business owners voiced their opinions on how town government could contribute to making Middlebury a more inviting place for businesses to settle and prosper.
The roundtable was organized by Middlebury’s Economic Health Committee. You can read about this committee’s purpose and the local leaders who serve on it here.
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.