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2019 Update #42

Wrapping Up November, Looking Ahead to 2020

The Highlights

  • Main Street Bridge limited to one lane of traffic on Friday and possibly also on Monday

  • A break for Thanksgiving

We’re about to wrap up our fourth consecutive month of construction. That leaves only a few short weeks until we turn the corner into 2020.

As I’m sure you know by now, 2020 will be the most challenging construction year for our community. Main Street and Merchants Row will be shut down for 10 weeks next summer to replace the two temporary bridges with a 350-foot tunnel. And 3500 feet of the downtown rail corridor, from the trestle bridge on the south to the rail yard on the north, will be completely rebuilt.

To help prepare the community for those 10 weeks, I’ve been meeting with local organizations to review next summer’s construction plan and timeline and the community’s preparations for managing the impacts of that construction on our town.

This week, for example, I met with Middlebury College staff and with Addison County’s Transportation Advisory Committee, which includes representatives from our county towns.

If you represent a group or organization that’s concerned about next year’s construction, please get in touch. I’d be happy to meet with you.

Finally, there’s this to consider about 2020. We’ll be that much closer to the July 1, 2021 end of this project.

Your Weekly Construction Update

More new town infrastructure in central downtown this week as Kubricky installed a stormwater catch basin in front of Edgewater Gallery on Merchants Row and a new sewer force main for the Post Office across Main Street. (A sewer force main is a pipeline that moves wastewater uphill under pressure.)

The Merchants Row work required temporarily taking parking in front of the Battell Block on Wednesday. Once that work was completed in mid-afternoon, the excavated area was backfilled and parking restored. The first three parking spots on Merchants Row in front of the Battell building are backfilled with gravel so please walk carefully getting in and out of your car if you park there until Kubricky repaves the area next week.

On Thursday, traffic was again restricted to a single lane over the Main Street Bridge as Kubricky excavated an area in front of the Post Office. As was the case in front of the Duclos Building, the Main Street waterline was not located where expected and so much of the day was spent uncovering the water line and then installing the sewer force main underneath the waterline at a depth of about 8 feet. You can see the excavation in progress in the photograph below.

On Friday, Kubricky expects to extend the sewer force main across the southbound and northbound lanes of Main Street. Depending on weather and what Kubricky finds as they excavate several feet down on Main Street, the work may need to be completed on Monday.

From what I’ve observed this week, the flaggers from Green Mountain Flagging are doing a good job of managing traffic flow on Main Street. That said, it’s almost inevitable that gridlock occurs where Seymour Street, North Pleasant Street, and Court Street come together in front of the Congregational Church and on Thursday that resulted in a three-vehicle fender bender. You might want to avoid this intersection on Friday. We’ll be keeping as much parking available in front of the Post Office as possible.

On the south end of the project, Maine Drilling & Blasting continued its months-long job of installing soil nails, tiebacks, and the other elements of support of excavation behind the Bourdon building, Grace Baptist Church, Town Hall Theater, and Smith Housing Partnership. The photograph below shows Maine D&B drilling soil nails into shotcrete just below the back of the Bourdon building. The Maine drilling team has been working 14-hour days to complete their work before winter truly sets in.

As I mentioned last week, Kubricky and Maine D&B will shut down the Wednesday before Thanksgiving at noon and return on the following Monday. I’ll have a brief weekly update next Wednesday before we break for the Thanksgiving holiday.

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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