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2020 Update #41

We Close In On the Halfway Point

The Highlights

  • Rebuilding Merchants Row and Main Street

  • Temporary traffic impacts on Seymour Street Sunday-Tuesday

Once Kubricky set in place last Friday the final piece of the new rail tunnel—TUP 94, as many an informed observer along the St. Stephen’s walkway could have told you—work between the bridges took a turn toward less dramatic but equally important tasks.

Backfilling the excavated areas on either side of the now-completed rail tunnel was front and center this week.

In the photo below, Carrara is pumping flowable fill (a cement mix designed for backfill) on the St. Stephen’s side of the tunnel while “the Slinger” layers in stone fill on the other side of the tunnel. Soil previously excavated from the rail corridor was trucked in from Fifield Farm for use as backfill as well.

And as you can see in the next photo, Kubricky began forming up with steel rebar the concrete bridge deck that will form a base for the Merchants Row roadway as it crosses over the rail tunnel. Kubricky expects to pour that concrete deck on Monday, at which point it will then “cure” for 10 days. Next week, the same will be done for the Main Street bridge deck.

Early this week, its job now done, Bay Crane and Kubricky disassembled and loaded onto several flatbed trucks the 300-ton crane that has dominated our downtown landscape for the past several weeks. We’re now down to the 200-ton crane setting precast in the Marble Works and the 275-ton hydraulic crane, which can be seen on the Post Office side of Main Street in the first photo above.

Before we move on to the north end of the project, I wanted to remind you that if you aren’t able to make it downtown, VTrans has set up a link whereby you can view a regular feed from their time-lapse camera mounted on the roof of the Duclos Building. You can check that out here.

North End Activity/Temporary Traffic Impacts on Seymour Street

With a break Tuesday night as Hurricane Isaias passed through town, Kubricky began setting precast u-walls on the north end of the project on the night shift, which runs between 7 PM and 7 AM.

As of Thursday, as you can see in the photo below, 30 u-walls had been set in place from the rail tunnel north. Precast will continue to be set from the Marble Works until this weekend, when the 275-ton crane will shift from the Post Office to Seymour Street to set the final 44 pieces of precast, which will end just south of County Tire.

To get this final section done, starting Sunday night, Seymour Street will be reduced to a single lane of alternating traffic between Main Street and Elm Street. While the setting of precast will take place only on the night shift, the single lane configuration will remain in place during the day on Monday and Tuesday so that the crane can remain in position for the night time work.

Then on Tuesday night starting around 7 PM, Seymour Street will be closed overnight to thru traffic between Elm Street and Main Street to set the final pieces of precast.

During this period all businesses and buildings will be accessible and flaggers will control traffic.

South End Activity

On the south end of the project, ECI excavated much of the rail corridor between the end of the u-wall pieces behind South Pleasant Street and the trestle bridge over Otter Creek. That work done, ECI began trucking in stone fill and rail ballast in preparation for restoring the rail tracks. More ballast will be brought in next week.

ECI also began installing a precast retaining wall that will extend south from the end of the u-walls. That work will continue next week and I’ll have photos of that in next week’s update.

Before we leave the construction zone, I thought I would share the following photo, taken last week inside the tunnel and showing, what else, the light at the end of the tunnel.

An App for the Shuttlebury

We’ve talked at length about the Shuttlebury service that can take you around town while Main Street is closed and getting from one side of town to another is a challenge. Did you know that you can track the Shuttlebury on a smartphone app so you know exactly where it is and how long you have to wait? Find out more about the Transit app here.

And just a reminder in these health-conscious days that the Shuttlebury is a very safe way of getting around town. The bus is thoroughly cleaned twice a day and its high-touch surfaces more frequently. Every driver and rider is prescreened and must wear a face mask. Hand sanitizer is available, positive air flow is maintained on board, and physical barriers have been installed between all seats. Check it out, even if only to take a unique ride around town.

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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