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2020 Update #23

Back At Work, Downtown Drilling Takes Center Stage

The Highlights

  • Merchants Row closed to thru traffic Friday and Monday

  • Saturday work schedule

  • Main Street reduced to one lane downtown next two weeks

After a pause of nearly seven weeks, the sights and sounds of construction resumed this week in downtown Middlebury as first Kubricky and then Maine Drilling & Blasting mobilized into town and got back to work.

The logistics of Covid-19 testing for the construction crew are still being worked out and so Kubricky was instructed to resume operations in accordance with evolving guidelines developed by Vermont’s Agency of Commerce and Community Development for out-of-state construction crews. These guidelines now allow out-of-state construction workers to commute daily to the job site without testing but limit crew size to 10.

The relatively small crew size notwithstanding, it was a productive week. Let’s review what we accomplished the first week back at work and then look ahead to next week as we turn the corner toward Memorial Day.

Your Weekly Construction Update

The starting point this week was Maine D&B completing the support of excavation work in the rail corridor between the two bridges that was suspended on March 25.

The photo below, taken Thursday morning, shows Maine drilling the penultimate of 13 minipiles below Triangle Park. These are needed in place before Kubricky can resume work on the new drainage system designed to remove standing water from the rail corridor and improve stormwater management in central downtown.

Late Thursday Maine relocated its drilling operation to Merchants Row, where, as I reported last week, it will begin installing 10 minipiles in an area spanning from the curb in front of the former coffee shop to the middle of the road.

To accomplish this work, Merchants Row was closed to thru traffic at times during the day on Wednesday and Thursday to prep the roadway. On Friday, Merchants Row will be closed all day so that Maine can drill in the roadway.

The sidewalk in front of the Battell Block and the walkway over the Merchants Row Bridge remain open while the roadway is closed.

I wanted be sure to point out to all of its many customers that Sabai Sabai remains open for curbside pickup at lunch and dinner even with Merchants Row closed. We’ve arranged for those picking up their meal by car to drive around the barrier at the intersection with Main Street and park right in front of Edgewater Gallery where Tip will bring out your meal to you.

Also as planned, on Wednesday Kubricky closed the Battell driveway and reopened the temporary access road for Battell residents and those who work in the building.

Saturday Work, Heads Up for Main Street Motorists

To make up for lost time, Kubricky and Maine will be working Saturday. Kubricky will close the northbound lane of Main Street as you approach Triangle Park from the south so that Maine can install minipiles across the roadway to support the rail corridor excavation that will take place later this summer. Flaggers will manage traffic flow. The parking alongside Triangle Park will likely be cordoned off while work takes place.

This week Maine has been working about a 12-hour shift starting at 7 AM and that will likely be the case on Saturday as well.

Looking ahead, Monday, May 18, will pose some challenges for motorists navigating downtown.

First, Merchants Row will be closed to thru traffic during the day as Maine wraps up its work there by grouting the minipiles installed this week.

Also on Monday, Kubricky will be removing the Main Street sidewalk directly in front of the National Bank’s Duclos Building and closing the southbound lane of Main Street near the bridge in order to drill test holes needed to clearly locate town utilities before Maine shifts to that side of Main Street with its drilling operation later in the week. The ATM in the Bank’s lobby will remain open.

Once Maine has completed drilling a line of minipiles across the southern approach to the Main Street Bridge it will shift to the north side of the bridge and drill a second line between the Post Office and St. Stephen’s. That could happen as soon as late next week depending on how Maine progresses on the south side of the bridge. When it does, Main Street traffic will again be limited to one lane, some parking will be temporarily cordoned off in front of the Post Office and St. Stephen’s, and there may be a temporary closing of the sidewalk between the Post Office and the National Bank.

As always, once I have more specific details on timing and impacts, I’ll be in touch. Any questions in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to email me.

That’s a wrap for now. It looks like a nice weekend in store, I hope you have an opportunity to enjoy our special outdoor life in Vermont, and I’ll report out any new developments regarding the project next week.

That’s all for today. See you soon.

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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