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2019 Update #26

Round 3, Ban the Bump

Our third year of construction gets underway Monday so let’s begin with a rundown on next week’s scheduled activities.

Your Weekly Construction Update

As I’ve been reporting, Maine Drilling & Blasting will begin mobilizing its drilling rigs and steel minipiles in Triangle Park on Monday and then start drilling minipiles in the rail corridor below Triangle Park either that afternoon or on Tuesday.

Because construction vehicles will once again be entering and exiting Triangle Park from Main Street, the five parking spaces that sit alongside Triangle Park on Main Street will be coned off for now.

Kubricky will be busy with several tasks this first week, starting with leveling the ramp that leads down from the back side of Triangle Park into the rail corridor so that Maine D&B’s drill rigs, similar to the one shown on the left below, can operate on level ground. Kubricky will also be “flooding the tracks” with stone fill so that the drill rigs can more easily move up and down the rail corridor.

Other Kubricky first-week tasks include installing erosion control fencing between the temporary access road and Otter Creek behind South Pleasant Street and laying down a base of stone fill in their Exchange Street yard to avoid tracking mud out onto the roadway with construction equipment. Kubricky leases the Exchange Street yard from Carrara.

As VTrans and Kubricky discussed at the June 4 public meeting, construction hours of operation this year have been lengthened to 7 AM to 9 PM. With the extended hours, construction activity will be more noticeable in late afternoon/early evening. Most days we expect work to wrap up at 7 PM, which would mark the end of a 12-hour shift.

In order to facilitate work in the rail corridor, VTrans has negotiated an arrangement with Vermont Rail to limit rail traffic passing through Middlebury to between 2 AM and 6 AM. That schedule will stay in place through the end of this year’s construction.

Finally, ATC, an environmental consulting and engineering services firm whose local office is in Williston, has been hired as the environmental manager for the project. Among other things—and this is important to us given the proximity of Otter Creek—ATC will collaborate with the VTrans and VHB environmental teams and with Kubricky to oversee and document that all groundwater encountered during construction is treated and discharged in compliance with the state-issued National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.

Created in 1972 by the Clean Water Act, the NPDES permit system addresses water pollution by regulating point sources—a single identifiable source of pollution—that discharge water into our waterways.

The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation serves as the regulator for this permit.

That Bump in the Bridge

A caller earlier this week reminded me that it’s high time to patch the worn asphalt on the Main Street Bridge. As I mentioned two weeks ago, you or your vehicle may have noticed the “bump” as you drive across the Main Street Bridge headed down Main Street.

Kubricky will patch that bump next week and will perform routine maintenance (e.g., bolt tightening) on both the Main Street and Merchants Row bridges in August. The Main Street Bridge will once again be repaved before winter.

Notes from Around Town

Did you read the feature article on Kiss the Cook in last week’s Independent? It reminded me what a service this Merchants Row store provides the community with its quality kitchenware and in-store events. You can keep track of upcoming events and good deals here.

Porter Medical Center’s contribution to our “30 Miles in 30 Days” walking challenge continues next Tuesday at Mary Hogan with a brief talk by Porter’s Natasha Withers, D.O., on “Osteopathic Medicine: Helping Common Aches & Pains.” Things get underway every Tuesday at 5:15 PM.

And remember: If you keep track of your daily miles, wherever you walk, you can submit your 30-mile walking log at our Downtown Block Party on Wednesday, August 14, for a chance to win one of five $100 Middlebury Money prizes.

Final Reminder: Monday, August 5, Bundle @ 60 Main will host an open-mic storytelling event designed to shed light on the history of our downtown. Two story cycles will take place, the first from 3:30 to 5:00 PM and the second from 6:00 to 7:30 PM. Images of downtown Middlebury will be on display and MCTV will film the stories for viewing on their website. Come learn about the past while we build the future.

What We’re Reading

Have you read Stewart O’Nan?

Earlier this summer, the prolific reader in our family told me I would really enjoy Henry, Himself, the 2019 prequel to O’Nan’s widely praised 2002 novel Wish You Were Here and 2011’s Emily, Alone.

Together, these three novels chronicle the lives of the multi-generation Maxwell family, Pittsburghers who summer in a lakeside cabin in Chautauqua, New York, which is where much of the action takes place. Richard Russo had this to say about Wish You Were Here: “an unflinching portrait of an American family that’s remarkable for its precision, intelligence, and heart. You won’t soon forget these people.”

That’s my kind of summer reading. If it’s yours, the Vermont Book Shop and Ilsley Library await.

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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