For the first time since early August, including four long weekends, construction activity in downtown Middlebury will halt for an extended period. All work will cease Christmas Eve morning and then resume on Thursday, January 2.
While the disruption of our downtown roads and parking subsided in December, construction has remained an active presence in and around the rail corridor. In your weekly construction update, we’ll review where we are as the year draws to a close.
First, though, as we wrap up our third year of construction, with one big one still to go, I’d like to acknowledge all the members of our community who have volunteered their time and energy to help get Middlebury through this project.
Between July 1 and October 31, as Neighbors Together and the Better Middlebury Partnership recently reported, more than 300 Middlebury citizens volunteered some 1,500 hours in a range of activities designed to manage the impact of construction on our town.
August’s highly successful Downtown Block Party, the flowers and fence art that added color downtown, the Health & Wellness program run with Porter Medical Center, the Neighbors Together committees planning next year’s events, and, more recently, the Midd Night Strolls —all of this depended on the generosity and community-minded spirit of our friends and neighbors. That’s something worth celebrating at this time of year.
Your Weekly Construction Update
This week, even as the temperature dipped into the single digits on Thursday, Maine Drilling & Blasting continued to install minipiles and tiebacks along the rail corridor between the Bourdon building and Main Street Bridge.
The Maine crew expects to finish the months-long process of drilling 300-plus minipiles in the rail corridor this week and will likely work on Saturday between 7 AM and 5 PM in order to complete that work before year’s end. During the week you may have noticed that Nop’s and Carrara were up on Merchants Row to support Maine in grouting the minipiles installed behind the Bourdon building.
Maine will return on January 2 to finish installing tiebacks south of the Merchants Row Bridge before January 6. That’s the date on which Vermont Rail reverts to its normal schedule of sending northbound and southbound trains through Middlebury during the day. Water Street and Seymour Street residents will be happy to hear that trains idling for hours outside their homes in the middle of the night will soon come to an end.
As I mentioned last week, ECI is back in town to install sheet piles, a method of stabilizing the rail slopes that we haven’t yet experienced. In this operation, a vibratory hammer, suspended from the crane currently sitting in the rail corridor outside Junebug, drives steel sheets up to 40 feet into the ground to create a continuous barrier. We’ll get a taste of this activity when ECI expects to fire it up on Monday, December 23.
ECI plans to work into February installing sheet piles along the rail corridor between Junebug and County Tire. To prepare for that work, this week ECI dismantled the iron railing fence along the tracks opposite Seymour Street.
Goings On Around Town
Still got some last minute shopping to do? Sue Hoxie delivers a wealth of ideas for gifts you can buy right here in Middlebury no matter who you’re shopping for. Check out her last-minute gift ideas on the Better Middlebury Partnership’s Experience Middlebury website here.
That’s all for today. See you downtown.
Please keep your comments and questions coming. Send me an email at email@example.com and I’ll try to cover it in my next update.