Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign
This week I thought you might find it interesting to take a look at one of the ways in which Middlebury and the Agency of Transportation are preparing to manage traffic when first Merchants Row (May 4) and then Main Street (May 27) are closed to thru traffic.
For the past several months, the traffic engineering team at VHB has been developing traffic control plans that detail how detours will be marked and how temporary changes to our local roadways will be signed.
The example below, drawn from those traffic control plans, shows the new one-way configuration on Franklin Street.
You may recall that the Selectboard recently approved a plan to temporarily convert Franklin Street—the one-block road that runs between Academy Street and Storrs Avenue alongside Twilight Hall and Storrs Park—to one-way running up the hill toward the College in order to provide 20-plus additional parking spots within a short walking distance of downtown.
It will also provide parking for Sanderson’s Funeral Home when parking on South Main Street is temporarily eliminated for three weeks in June to facilitate the transport of oversize precast concrete pieces for our new downtown tunnel between Fifield Farm and the Triangle Park area.
The one-way configuration is scheduled to be in place from May 1 to August 31, at which point the Selectboard will evaluate the potential for Franklin Street to remain permanently one way.
Similar “signage packages” have been developed for all other downtown roadways.
This is just one of the ways in which Middlebury is working to maintain traffic flow and downtown accessibility during this summer’s construction. I’ll be covering other aspects of what’s taking place in future updates.
Your Weekly Construction Update
At the risk of sounding like a broken record (and that’s a dated analogy these days!) there’s not much change on the construction front as February draws to a close.
At the north end of the project in the Marble Works, ECI continued to make slow but steady progress installing steel sheet piles this week. More underground obstacles were encountered, including a dry-laid stone retaining wall, more rail ties, and of course good old Addison County clay.
At the current pace, the work will continue right through March before wrapping up just south of County Tire on Seymour Street.
Between the two downtown bridges, Kubricky continues to excavate and install timber lagging at the site of two new manhole structure below St. Stephen’s. We’re likely to see the concrete base of one of the manholes installed there next week.
Speaking of timber lagging (as shown in the photo below), a reader recently asked, “What happens to all that timber once the project is complete?”
The short answer is that it will remain buried in place with the exception of some upper sections scheduled to be removed. The lagging—it’s an engineered organic softwood—that sits above the ground water level likely will eventually deteriorate with no impact on the construction that sits above it.
At Fifield Farm, Kubricky laid down more gravel in preparation for the arrival of the precast concrete and the soil excavated from the rail corridor in May and June.
In other news, the Agency of Transportation will be expanding its inspection staff next month and so plans to use the Bourdon Insurance property, which it purchased last year, for an additional field office. VTrans will continue to use the basement of the Post Office (from which I am writing your update this week) as its field HQ through the summer construction.
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.