Snow, wind, subzero temps . . . not exactly ideal conditions for an outdoor construction project, but the Kubricky and ECI crews are experienced with winter operations and so work continued apace this week.
Let’s review what we accomplished this second full week of January and what, weather permitting, lies ahead next week.
Your Weekly Construction Update
You may recall from last week’s update that VTrans had negotiated a weekend closure of the rail line through Middlebury so that Kubricky and ECI could install conduits to carry electrical and telecom lines underneath the rail line. This work, as I mentioned, is part of the larger plan to underground the utilities that cross Printer's Alley at the entrance to the Marble Works.
As it happened, subzero temperatures notwithstanding, this work was completed well ahead of schedule and the rail was reopened by midday Saturday. The accelerated schedule did mean that several ECI trucks carrying stone backfill to the site were lined up in the Marble Works parking lot around 5 PM Friday so thank you to those who work and park in the Marble Works for your patience and especially to our good friends Danielle and Steve at American Flatbread.
In the photo below, taken Friday afternoon, the utility trench has been excavated 15 below the rail line, the conduits placed in the ground (you can see them rising to ground level at the far left), and backfilling has begun. Also on the left are several of the steel minipiles driven into the ground for support that we talked about at length during 2018. At the right is a trench box used to keep the surrounding ground from collapsing inward in the narrower excavated section that sweeps uphill.
Utility work continued throughout the week on the Post Office side of the rail line just north of the Launch Pit as Kubricky excavated and laid conduit in the ground in preparation for undergrounding utilities next Spring.
ECI completed backfilling Receiving Pit 3 alongside the rail line in the Marble Works and will finish grouting the space between the carrier pipes and the steel casing as the weather temporarily warms on Friday.
The Launch Pit remains at the same elevation as last week as the construction crew awaits the arrival of additional material so that they can continue backfilling up to the level of the surrounding area. That work may be delayed if this weekend’s storm delivers as much snow as is forecast.
Weather permitting, the construction crew plans to work on Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Before we wrap up the construction review, I wanted to point out that last week I mistakenly identified SD Ireland as the manufacturer of the concrete drainage structures in the Launch Pit and the two receiving pits. In fact, those were manufactured by Michie Corporation out of Henniker, New Hampshire. SD Ireland manufactured the concrete vaults that are being used to house electrical and telecom connections.
Good News for Lazarus Park
You may recall that the design plan for the Town’s new Lazarus Park, a green space to be built between the Printer’s Alley roadway and the rail line in 2021, included an ADA-accessible pathway connecting Main Street and the Marble Works.
To accomplish this in the fairly steep grade of the area, the design team had to extend the sidewalk onto Marble Works property. Kim Smith, the owner of Marble Works, has generously agreed to grant the Town a permanent easement to this section of his property so that the State can build and the Town can maintain the sidewalk.
At its Tuesday meeting this week, the Selectboard authorized Town Manager Kathleen Ramsay to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Marble Works to formalize the agreement.
You can view the approved design plan for Lazarus Park and Triangle Park here.
That’s all for today. See you downtown. Stay warm and stay safe.
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.