It’s been four weeks now since construction shut down for the winter, though the chain-link fences and construction vehicles “wintering over” in Printer’s Alley and Triangle Park are a daily reminder that we are still a town in the midst of a construction project.
That project will start up again later in March as Kubricky and ECI return to complete work on the drainage system. Then as summer arrives the focus will shift to replacing town water and sewer lines that run alongside and across the rail corridor.
In the meantime, this past month the action shifted to offices and meeting rooms in Montpelier, South Burlington, Middlebury, and Wilton, NY (which Kubricky calls home) as VTrans, VHB, Kubricky, and their various partners and subcontractors worked through the detailed process that leads to finalizing project planning.
We saw one result of that planning effort last week as Kubricky asked for and received the Selectboard’s approval to close Merchants Row to through traffic earlier than planned in Summer 2020 in order to salvage and store the historic ashlar blocks that line the rail abutment underneath the Merchants Row temporary bridge and to shore up the abutment once those blocks are removed.
John Flowers covered that meeting in an informative front-page article in last Thursday’s edition of The Addison Independent. I’ll be providing specific detail on schedule, parking impacts, etc. once Kubricky has finalized its plans for this work.
Kubricky’s request to close Merchants Row early to through traffic reflects in part the complex realities of lowering and rebuilding 3500 feet of the downtown rail corridor and constructing a 350-foot precast concrete tunnel in the center of downtown in 10 weeks in Summer 2020. It also demonstrates the pressure the State has brought to bear on holding the line at 10 weeks, a commitment that VTrans made to the Town in 2016.
Earlier in February, Selectboard Chair Brian Carpenter, Town Manager Kathleen Ramsay, and I met with Secretary of Transportation Joe Flynn and VTrans Chief Engineer Wayne Symonds to set the stage for a joint project update to the Selectboard by VTrans, VHB, and Kubricky.
That meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 14. We’ve asked for a realistic, in-depth walk-through of what we can expect starting in Summer 2019 through the end of the project in Summer 2021.
In connection with that update, I’m also working on new project storyboards that will replace those that currently sit outside the Post Office.
I hope to see you at Town Meeting this coming Monday. As a reminder, that takes place at 7 PM at MUHS. I’ll be there early so if you have questions about our project come and find me!
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.