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2020 Community Update #27

Progress, Step by Step

The Highlights

  • Construction moves from Main Street back into rail corridor

  • Precast nears half-way point at Fifield marshaling yard

There’s a rhythm and predictability to the work now taking place downtown.

Yes, it can be noisy, dusty, and in the way. And we know it will get more so before it gets better.

But the methodical, day by day progress toward project completion seems somehow reassuring, set as it is against the larger uncertainties and worries that occupy us these days.

After the street-level activity of the past two weeks, construction this first week of June settled back into the rail corridor and into a pattern that we became familiar with in 2018 and 2019.

Let’s catch up with this week’s work and look ahead to next.

Your Weekly Construction Update

Following last week’s removal of the temporary Merchants Row bridge—it continues to sit in the upper section of Merchants Row awaiting dismantling if you want to take a final look—a Kubricky crew moved in to begin dismantling the ashlar block wall that sits beneath and to the south of the bridge location and to install the timber lagging needed to support the rail slopes during this summer’s excavation of the rail corridor.

Then on Thursday, as I mentioned last week, Kubricky began the process of installing tie rods in Merchants Row between the parallel lines of minipiles drilled across the roadway. These threaded steel rods provide support for the crane that will be operating in Merchants Row by tying together the two lines of minipiles.

The photo below shows both of these activities. In the foreground, a crew member is welding a metal bar onto a minipile to support the timber lagging. (The lumber used in timber lagging is yellow southern pine.) In the background, an excavator is peeling off the roadway to prep the area for the tie rods.

Between the bridges, Kubricky will continue hammering and grinding its way through ledge between the bridges to install the drainage pipe we’ve been discussing that forms a central section of the new system to improve stormwater management in central downtown and in the rail corridor. That activity is visible at the far right of the photo above.

Fresh from its work on Main Street, the Maine D&B crew was back down in the rail corridor drilling tiebacks in the support of excavation that runs alongside the Battell driveway. That work will continue through much of June.

Out at the Fifield south marshaling yard, like clockwork, Hulett Trucking out of West Pawlet continued hauling precast from Fort Miller’s Schuylerville NY plant. By end of the day Friday, another 72 pieces of precast will have been delivered, bringing our total at the yard to 182 of 422 pieces. The final piece was cast at Fort Miller on May 28.

The photo below shows one of the tunnel pieces—“TPs” to the crew—being guided into place out at the yard. The photo at the outset of this week’s update shows a line of TPs lined up and ready for transport to the intersection of Main and Merchants Row this summer.

In other news, as those within earshot of Seymour Street no doubt noticed, our friends from ECI arrived back in town on Thursday to finish up driving steel sheets on the north end of the project. It should take about two weeks to complete.

Speaking of steel sheets, a reader recently asked, “What happens to all those steel sheets and minipiles drilled into the ground once the project is over?” ECI will remove all of the steel sheeting for reuse in future projects. The steel minipiles installed as support of excavation will be cut off at ground level and, along with the timber lagging, left in the ground for future archaeologists to ponder.

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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