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2019 Update #39

Progress in Printer’s Alley, More Sewer Line Work on Tap

Hopefully you and your trick-or-treaters collected a few choice treats before Thursday’s rain arrived in force.

That rain—and some unexpected news encountered underground during the week—slowed progress on completing the sewer line work taking place this week in front of the National Bank and down Printer’s Alley.

As a result, both the sidewalk on Main Street between the National Bank’s Duclos Building and the Post Office, including the footbridge, and the pedestrian pathway down Printer’s Alley connecting Main Street and the Marble Works will remain closed to pedestrians into next week.

Before we get into the details, I want to remind everyone that walking across the Main Street Bridge is truly not a good idea. Please take the extra few minutes to follow the clearly marked detours. You really do not want to be on the bridge at the same time as a tanker truck. And I say that from experience!

Now on to our weekly construction update.

Main Street Sewer Line Update

Work on the downtown section of the new sewer line began on Monday as planned. Two Kubricky crews excavated several feet below the blacktop to install two new sewer manholes, one directly in front of the Duclos Building and the other at the top of Printer’s Alley.

You can get a sense from the photograph below that these manholes are large, multi-piece concrete structures. They’re manufactured by S. D. Ireland.

This was complicated work because the Main Street waterline—a section of that waterline runs above ground parallel to the footbridge—runs right through the area being excavated. Placing the manhole structure at the top of Printer’s Alley went fairly smoothly. Placing the one in front of the Duclos Building not so much.

Once several feet underground, the Kubricky crew discovered that the sewer line, rather than lying parallel to the waterline as plans had shown, was in fact sitting directly below the waterline.

This was not entirely surprising. There’s little documentation for some of the infrastructure that lies beneath our streets and dealing with the unexpected is common in construction projects. But that discovery did significantly complicate the process of installing that manhole structure. Apart from delaying the work, it also forced Kubricky to remove half of the sidewalk in front of the National Bank.

By Thursday evening, Kubricky had installed both manholes and laid sewer pipe the length of Printer’s Alley. The two manholes, however, have yet to be connected. That work will likely move into next week and it will be only then that Kubricky can repave and reopen the sidewalk and the footbridge.

Printer’s Alley was backfilled with gravel on Thursday but it, too, needs to be repaved before pedestrians can safely walk on it. We’re expecting both to reopen mid-week—the team knows that this is a priority.

In the meantime, Bank customers will be asked to enter the bank through the front door where the bank’s ATM is located rather than through the Duclos Building.

And this week’s pedestrian detours will remain in place. Pedestrians walking between the National Bank and the Post Office will be asked to follow a marked detour via Merchants Row and the Town Green. Those walking between Main Street and the Marble Works will need either to cross the pedestrian bridge over Otter Creek near Stone Mill or to use Seymour Street. Both detours will add a few minutes to your travel time so please leave time in your schedule when running errands or going to and from work.

Your patience during this work is much appreciated by all those involved.

Speaking of patience, if you were driving down Main Street during the week you likely were held up momentarily by flaggers controlling access to the one lane that was open over the Main Street Bridge. That will continue to be the case next week.

Once work between the two sewer manholes is completed, Kubricky will begin excavating across Main Street to continue the sewer line. You may remember from last week’s update that the new sewer line will run from the bottom of Printer’s Alley; underneath Main Street, Triangle Park, and Merchants Row; and then down the Battell driveway.

We can expect one of the two lanes of the Main Street Bridge to be closed during the week and then Merchants Row to be closed to through traffic on Friday and into the weekend. Kubricky expects to close the Battell driveway again late next week and open up the temporary access road to the Battell parking lot.

And speaking of next weekend, our third Fall weekend of blasting arrives November 8-10. This one should be pretty straightforward and I’ll have the details next week.

If, after reading the above, you’re thinking, “That’s a lot of activity taking place downtown!” you’re right: this period is probably the most disruptive phase of this year’s construction.

That said, at 10 am Thursday morning there were a good dozen parking spots in front of and across from the Post Office. The construction crews have cleared out of the upper stretch of Merchants Row so there’s typically several open spots there as well. (And that makes for an easy trip across the Town Green to the Post Office.)

Getting to Marble Works from Main Street on foot is a bit of a challenge with Printer’s Alley closed but all of our businesses in the Marble Works—Round Robin, Junebug, Noonie’s, Flatbread, Costello’s, Stoneleaf Teahouse, Otter Creek Used Books, the Marble Works Pharmacy, Otter Creek Yoga—these friends and neighbors depend on your business, as do our Main Street and Merchants Row businesses. They and those managing this project appreciate the extra effort you make to patronize them.

As if that isn’t enough construction news, this week there was a lot happening on the south end of the project. Let’s quickly review that before wrapping up.

As October came to a close, Maine Drilling & Blasting crews spent much of the week drilling tiebacks into the slope behind Grace Baptist Church, Town Hall Theater, and Smith Housing and Knowles continued installing shotcrete behind the Bourdon Building. Carrara was back on the job late in the week to grout those tiebacks. All of this work continues the now weeks-long effort to stabilize those slopes.

Next week that support of excavation work will continue behind Bourdon and alongside the temporary access road and Maine D&B will drill more minipiles in-between the Main Street and Merchants Row bridges.

Mad Taco Alert

Have you to Mad Taco yet? Middlebury’s newest restaurant opened Saturday night in Stone Mill. We’re headed there next Tuesday night for our anniversary. Maybe we’ll see you there!

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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