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2020 Update #3

The Challenges of Winter Work, Introducing The Shuttlebury


  • A quiet week in the rail corridor

  • A downtown shuttle to help with summer construction

Your Weekly Construction Update

Balky equipment and the return of winter weather combined to slow progress on construction activity in the rail corridor this week.

The crane ECI is using to install sheet piles on either side of the rail line in the Marble Works ran into mechanical issues late last week, bringing work on that part of the project to a halt this week (perhaps to the relief of those within earshot of the vibratory hammer).

You may remember that ECI has been given the job of installing about 1400 feet of steel sheeting whose purpose, like that of the minipiles and timber lagging to the south, is to stabilize the abutments when the north end of the rail corridor is excavated in June. That work should start up again next week.

Kubricky spent the week excavating and installing timber lagging at one of two locations between the bridges that will house new manhole structures that are part of the new downtown drainage system.

In the photograph below, taken from just below the Merchants Row Bridge, Kubricky is working on the manhole that will sit below St. Stephen's on the east side of the rail corridor.

Stormwater from the Town Green will drain into this structure, move underneath the rail line to a similar manhole on the Merchants Row side of the rail corridor, and then flow north to the Launch Pit built last year in Printer’s Alley and from there out to Otter Creek. At each step of the process, sumps remove sediment from the stormwater before it reaches the creek.

Kubricky’s work will continue next week.

Getting You From Here to There

Last week I gave you a high-level recap of some key dates and impacts of the summer closure of Main Street and Merchants Row.

If you groaned when you read that Printer’s Alley will be closed to pedestrians for 10 weeks and that the Main Street footbridge will be removed, turning a brief stroll from the Post Office to the National Bank or from the National Bank to the Marble Works into a spirited but time-consuming walk, you probably weren’t alone.

As construction plans have taken final shape during the past year, a parallel planning effort has focused on managing the impact of those plans on our community and on our downtown.

Much of that work, as we’ve talked about frequently, has been done by Neighbors Together, our phenomenal volunteer organization that, together with the Better Middlebury Partnership, is investing marketing funds provided by VTrans in a series of fun, creative events and activities designed to bring the community downtown during the summer construction.

To support this goal, a Mobility Committee was formed last Fall to develop plans for improving our ability to get around downtown this summer. The committee includes representatives from the Addison County Regional Planning Commission, VTrans, Neighbors Together, the Town, ACTR, and Fitzgerald & Halladay, a community planning organization that works closely with VTrans.

One result of this committee’s work is that VTrans will fund a free continuous downtown shuttle loop that will make it much easier to get around downtown during summer construction.

Christened “The Shuttlebury,” the ACTR-operated shuttle will run continuously between Marble Works and the intersection of Main Street and Merchants Row. A full loop, with stops at the Post Office, Town Hall Theater, and Middlebury’s Municipal Building, is expected to take less than 15 minutes.

I’ll have more details on The Shuttlebury and its hours of operation—as well as the many other ideas and plans in the works—as details are finalized.

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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