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2020 Update #53

Into November

The Highlights

  • Alternating lane traffic on Seymour Street next week

  • A brief how-to on exposed aggregate hardscape

  • Getting the new downtown sidewalks ready for winter

It’s six weeks now since we reopened Merchants Row and Main Street to thru traffic and Vermont Rail resumed freight operations through Middlebury.

The changes that have taken place downtown since then are not as dramatic as what we saw this summer with the rail tunnel. But the parks we’ll spend time in and the sidewalks we’ll walk on for years to come are equally important to the success of this project.

Work on these fronts will continue as long as the weather holds. And with three days next week forecast as sunny and in the 50s, for now it’s full speed ahead.

With that in mind, let’s once again review what work took place this week and what lies ahead as we turn the corner into November.

Your Weekly Construction Update

Starting on the north end of the project, ECI is making good progress pulling those steel sheets that stabilized the rail slopes north of Main Street during this summer’s construction. They may wrap this up as soon as next week.

For the final stretch of work, ECI will need to relocate its crane from the Marble Works over to Seymour Street. Starting next week, then, we can expect to see alternating lane traffic on Seymour Street between 7 AM and 5 PM as the crane takes up space in the southbound lane.

Once they pull the final sheets up near the Depot, the ECI crew will relocate to the temporary access road, where they plan to drive approximately 100 steel sheets into the ground to stabilize the embankment that is being rebuilt along Otter Creek between Cross Street Bridge and the Battell Block to protect against stream bank erosion.

In final north end news, on Thursday ECI repaved the back entrance to the Marble Works on Middle Seymour Street following several weeks of new drainage system work in the area.

Progress in Triangle Park

This week in Triangle Park, Waters continued to pour sections of the interior sidewalk.

The photo below shows a section of exposed aggregate sidewalk that will form much of the interior hardscape in the new park.

This kind of sidewalk is accomplished by applying a surface retarder to fresh concrete that chemically delays the setting of the surface while the concrete beneath it cures normally. When the underlying concrete hardens—typically within 12-24 hours—the surface is then sprayed with a pressure washer, washing away the “cream” and leaving a crushed stone surface.

Elsewhere in Triangle Park, as our next photo shows, the foundation slab was poured for the historic fountain that will be restored to its location in Triangle Park. The fountain itself will be reassembled and become operational next year.

To get the downtown sidewalks ready for winter, Waters is filling the expansion joints that separate each section with a polyurethane sealant and saw cutting “control joints” every five feet so that if a section of sidewalk were to crack in the years ahead it can be replaced more easily.

With that done, Kubricky will then apply a silane coating to the new downtown sidewalks. Silane is a silicone-based sealer whose purpose is to protect concrete from water penetration and degradation due to salt.

Turning to Printer’s Alley, as you can see in the photo below, Kubricky is grading and backfilling the area that will eventually become our new Lazarus Park.

The decision has now been made to repave the walkway connecting Main Street and the Marble Works next to the Duclos building with asphalt to get us through winter and to construct the final sidewalk next Spring. As I mentioned last week, the reopening of the roadway connecting Main Street and the Marble Works will take place next year.

Next week Kubricky will remove the temporary light poles alongside the Post Office and begin backfilling that area as well.

In our final photo of the week, a Kubricky crew is finishing the cap wall on the north end by rubbing out the exposed surfaces with a cement mix. Lafayette is expected to return the week of November 16 to install decorative pedestrian railing atop these sections of the cap wall.

Before signing off, I wanted to remind you that Merchants Row is one way up the hill—we regularly see people driving downhill from Court Square!—and that a Stop sign now sits at the top of the road where formerly there was a Yield sign.

And with that, may your Halloween be safe and spooky!

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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