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2019 Update #14

Clean-Up Time, Maria in Middlebury

Construction in Printer’s Alley continues to wind down as Kubricky has now shifted to general clean-up of the construction area.

Much of the clean-up is taking place in the Marble Works and will include repaving both the pathway that leads down to the pedestrian bridge across Otter Creek and the roadway leading into the National Bank’s parking lot. Several folks have contacted me about leaning road work signs around town and these, too, are on the “punch list.”

During the week a small army of GMP techs arrived in Printer’s Alley to install electrical cable in the conduit that Kubricky placed underground last week. As we’ve discussed, this will allow GMP—as well as Comcast, Consolidated Communications, and FirstLight—to run their lines underground at the entrance to the Marble Works.

A main electrical line that runs underground from the GMP substation at Otter Creek will now tie in to a new pad-mounted transformer in Printer’s Alley. From there, electricity will be fed up to Seymour Street and the eastern side of town as well as to the National Bank and adjoining stores on Main Street. Placing this key electrical line underground will improve reliability of service vs. an aerial electrical line as well as create a more attractive gateway between Main Street and the Marble Works.

You may be wondering why construction is winding down when the construction season is just getting underway. The answer has to do with the sequencing of construction contracts. Installation of the temporary bridges in Summer 2017 was one contract. Construction of the drainage system and access roads was a second contract; that one wraps up in mid-May. The third and final contract covering the main project will be awarded in May, with work scheduled to begin in the July/August timeframe.

Stabilizing the Riverbank

I’ve heard recently from a few readers who have asked about the plan for stabilizing the Otter Creek riverbank in the stretch of river between Cross Street Bridge and the Battell Block. I checked in on that with the VHB engineering team and here’s what I learned.

The access road that is currently there is temporary and the area will be regraded back to the original geometry of the Otter Creek riverbank. The riverbank will be reconstructed with stone fill, covered with grubbing material (soil that includes roots and organics), and vegetated.

The vegetation will begin to grow in the grubbing material. As its root systems extend down through the grubbing material and stone fill, it will create a solid mass. It all works together as a system to create a stable slope and resist erosion. The project team still needs to define the actual vegetation to plant in this location, but it's likely to focus on plant material that is more robust than grass but not as large as trees.

On the other side of the tracks is the slope that leads up to South Pleasant Street. The situation there is a little more complicated. The lower section of that slope is within the project limits—it’s the location of a new Town sewer line—while the upper slope is private property. I’ll report on the plan for stabilizing the entire slope when I have more info on that.

A Diva in Middlebury

Our friends at the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival and the Opera Company of Middlebury are co-presenting a benefit screening of the documentary Maria by Callas on Monday, May 6, at 7 pm at Town Hall Theater. As its many aficionados know, opera season is special in Middlebury and this film about the great diva Maria Callas is part of the lead up to the OCM’s presentation of Cendrillon that begins on May 31. Tickets for this benefit screening are $25. You can read about this fascinating film and view its trailer here.

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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