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2019 Update #41

From Sewer to Stormwater, then Thanksgiving

The Highlights

  • Merchants Row closed to thru traffic on either Tuesday or Wednesday

  • Main Street limited to one lane of traffic on Thursday and Friday

The final section of a new town sewer line, one that stretches from the bottom of Printer’s Alley to the trestle bridge over Otter Creek at Water Street, was completed this past weekend as Kubricky closed Merchants Row to make the final connection.

By Monday afternoon, just in advance of our first significant snowfall and some truly cold weather, Kubricky backfilled and reopened Merchants Row and the Battell driveway. Merchants Row, the Battell driveway, and a small section of the northbound lane of Main Street near the bridge are scheduled to be paved this Friday, November 15.

Kubricky will also finish paving in front of the National Bank’s Duclos Building and generally tidy up the area in front of the bank and at the top of Printer’s Alley.

A Challenging Weekend

This was a disruptive weekend in particular for Battell residents and Battell businesses. Merchants Row was aswarm with excavators, loaders, and dump trucks. Work took place from dawn well into the evening so that Battell residents had to contend with not just the noise of construction but also light towers illuminating the front of the building.

That disruption notwithstanding, Sabai Sabai, the Merchants Row Thai restaurant, did a brisk business Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening and Molly Stevens’ book-signing at Kiss the Cook was well-attended Friday evening.

Blasting also took place this weekend as scheduled to remove bedrock underneath the Main Street Bridge. Due to equipment breakdowns and struggles with groundwater, Maine Drilling & Blasting was able to accomplish only three blasts, one on Saturday and two on Sunday. These are the unpredictable factors that complicate construction.

During the week Maine D&B continued to drill tiebacks and soil nails, those ubiquitous elements of support of excavation that we have featured in so many of this year’s construction updates. In the photograph below, Maine is drilling behind the Bourdon building on an elevated platform constructed by Kubricky.

Next week the Maine crew will shift back between the bridges to continue drilling minipiles.

Managing Stormwater

With the new sewer line now installed, tested, and online, Kubricky will turn its attention to installing more new town infrastructure in central downtown. This time, the focus is on managing stormwater.

First, a new catch basin and drainage line will be installed in Merchants Row just upfrom the intersection with Main Street, requiring Kubricky to close Merchants Row to thru traffic and impacting parking in front of the Battell Block. That work will take place on either Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on weather and other factors. I’ll send out a town-wide alert when I know the date.

Stormwater work will then shift to Main Street on Thursday. First the southbound and then the northbound lane will be closed, restricting Main Street to one travel lane, as was the case for several days during the past two weeks. On Day 1, parking will be limited in front of the Post Office. On Day 2, parking will be limited in front of St. Stephen’s.

This is the time of year when we begin sending out packages to friends and family who live away and so I know that any loss of parking in front of the Post Office is greeted with a sigh. I will work with Kubricky to ensure that this part of the project gets done as quickly as possible and with as little impact on parking as possible. In the meantime, thank you for your patience and understanding. All sidewalks will remain open.

Looking a little further ahead, Kubricky will shut down the Wednesday before Thanksgiving at noon and return on the following Monday. So we do have that to be thankful for! And so do they. Working 12-hour shifts right through the weekend and now in winter weather is a challenge for our construction crews, many of whom travel an hour or more to get to work.

Goings On Around Town

You’ve probably seen the notice from the Town but I wanted to remind you that the closing presentation for the Middlebury Planapalooza, that five-day public event focused on developing Middlebury’s Downtown Master Plan, has been rescheduled to Friday, November 15, at 7 PM in the Town Offices.

If you want to get a sneak peek at the “Eight Great Ideas” that have emerged from discussion with your fellow citizens, click here. The presentation will be broadcast live on MCTV and available to view on MCTV next Monday, November 18.

Like many others (and thanks to my wife), I am now hooked on The Great British Baking Show. Inspired by that popular show, our friends at the Middlebury campus of the Community College of Vermont, whose offices and classrooms are on the second floor of the Battell Block, are sponsoring their own bake-off next week to raise money to support Middlebury’s Charter House Coalition.

Anyone can enter The Great CCV Bake-Off by filling out this simple form. Baked treats will need to be dropped off at CCV between 4 and 8 PM on Monday or before 10 AM on Tuesday. (No nuts or nut butter due to allergies please.) Voting takes place on Tuesday. You don’t need to have baked anything to take part. Stop by to vote and taste the treats! Coincidentally, you’ll get a great view of the construction project from CCV’s second floor windows.

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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