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2020 Update #45

Roads Paved, Sidewalks Poured Next Week

The Highlights

  • Paving of Main Street and Merchants Row starts next Tuesday

  • Pouring of new downtown sidewalks gets underway next week

  • New rail tracks now fully in place

  • No work Labor Day Weekend and night shift comes to an end

With just two weeks to go until we reopen Main Street and Merchants Row to thru traffic, the focus this week has been on preparing to pave Main Street and Merchants Row and to install the new downtown sidewalks.

That work will take place next week starting on Tuesday.

As an example of this week's preparation work, the photo below shows a compacted stone sub-base nearly ready for paving on the lower stretch of Merchants Row.

In the background on the left is a curb bump-out that will effectively extend the sidewalk into the Main and Merchants intersection in order to provide a safer pedestrian crossing between the Battell building and the new Triangle Park. (You may remember that Merchants Row will remain one way going up the hill when it reopens.) Also in the background is the roller used to compact the stone sub-base.

And for the first time since Monday, July 13, construction will take a breather for Labor Day Weekend. Work will stop Friday at 7 PM and resume Tuesday morning 7 AM.

Also, in good news for Battell tenants and other downtown residents, the last night shift will take place Thursday evening as Kubricky and its subcontractors will revert to the normal 12-hour shift, 7 AM – 7 PM, after Labor Day.

Rebuilding Central Downtown

The most notable work in central downtown this week has been installation of the granite curbing for the new downtown sidewalks.

To date, granite curbing has been installed in front of the Battell building on Merchants Row, on Main Street between Sweet Cecily and the National Bank, down Printer’s Alley, and on either side of the upper stretch of Merchants Row. On Friday and into next week, granite curbing will be installed in front of St. Stephen’s and between the rail corridor and the Post Office on Main Street.

In the photo below, the granite curbing has been set in place in front of the Duclos Building and down Main Street. Carrara poured concrete on either side of the curbing to support it before the sidewalk is poured and the street paved.

In case you’re wondering, yes, this is Vermont granite: quarried in Barre and cut and shaped in Concord NH.

Next week Waters Excavation will begin pouring the Main Street and Merchants Row sidewalks. That work will likely take place throughout the week. Access to our downtown buildings will be maintained with aluminum ramps as needed during the 24-hour cure period for the sidewalks. If your destination is Sabai Sabai or Sweet Cecily or any other store downtown, come on down!

While the sidewalks go in, Kubricky will begin paving Main Street, Merchants Row, and the Battell driveway in preparation for reopening the roadways. I should have the timeline in place on that for next week’s update.

Rail Corridor Work

A major milestone was achieved Wednesday afternoon when ECI installed the last section of panelized track at the north end of the project. You can see that last section in the photo below. The blue building on the right belongs to County Tire.

The new tracks now extend some 3600 feet from the trestle bridge over Otter Creek on the south to the Middlebury railyard on the north.

Next week, ECI will “flood the tracks,” installing ballast stone on top of and around the ties and rail.

Last week we talked about the cap walls, which will provide a smooth transition atop the precast u-walls and support the pedestrian railing. Last Friday, Patriot Shotcrete formed the southwest cap wall, which you can see on the right in the photo below. The southeast cap wall, formed up to the left in the photo, will be shotcrete next week, along with northern sections of the cap wall.

On Thursday, Witch Enterprises out of Agawam MA arrived in town to begin drilling holes in the parapet walls on either end of the rail tunnel and the cap walls to prepare for the decorative pedestrian railing that Lafayette will install. Lafayette Highway Specialties out of Essex Junction VT has been a frequent subcontractor on the project.

All of this activity will take us into the final week’s work before we reopen the downtown roads.

The Big Giveaway

For the past two weeks we’ve mentioned the Big Giveaway, your opportunity to shop locally and support Middlebury businesses by spending $25 at a locally owned store between August 15 and September 5 and then entering to win one of five gift bundles valued at $500 or more.

On Saturday you’ll have an opportunity to see those prizes in person in a tent next to Mary Hogan between 10 AM and Noon.

This will be your final chance to submit any receipts you haven't yet emailed and to see the prizes in person. And, if you come check them out in person, you'll get a free entry for the prize bundle of your choosing. Please wear a mask and practice safe social distancing. Details here.

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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