2020 Update #51

Transforming Triangle Park

 

The Highlights

  • Sidewalk and landscaping work progress in Triangle Park

  • More cap wall work and steel sheet removal on the north end

  • The future of the temporary access road

 

It was another week of steady progress downtown.

 

While it still looks very much like a construction site, Triangle Park nevertheless is starting to emerge as the park that will serve as the centerpiece of our downtown for generations to come.

 

The following two renderings, created by Lincoln Brown Illustration in Burlington, remind us of what the plan is for this park.

Your Weekly Construction Update

Much of the action in Triangle Park early this week centered around our historic fountain, which, as I mentioned last week, will sit about 30 feet in from the intersection of Main and Merchants.

 

The photo below shows the poured concrete footing and rebar in place ready for the foundation walls, which were then formed and poured.

Landshapes completed the rather extensive bump-out at the crosswalk where Merchants Row enters Court Square, continued placing historic ashlar blocks salvaged from the rail corridor as seating areas in Triangle Park, and began rebuilding the St. Stephen’s memorial garden.  That work will continue next week.

 

The Waters Excavation curb-and-sidewalk crew continued pouring sections of sidewalk in and around Triangle Park.  The photo below shows the section of sidewalk that will connect Merchants Row and Main Street through the park.  Late this week and into next, Waters expects to finish pouring the sidewalk around the perimeter of Triangle Park.

While work was taking place in the park, Kubricky poured two more 90-foot sections of the cap walls that create a finished top to the u-walls on the north end of the project.  Next week, Kubricky expects to begin backfilling and grading Printer’s Alley in preparation for constructing the sidewalk connecting Main Street and the Marble Works.  That sidewalk is still probably 2-3 weeks away.

 

Also on the north end of the project, ECI installed a new waterline for The Depot in a marathon overnight session Monday night on Seymour Street and then mobilized in a crane to begin pulling the steel sheets.  Late next week, ECI plans to pave the excavated section of Seymour Street as well as the back entrance to the Marble Works, where new town stormwater drainage was installed.

 

The construction crew plans to work on Monday’s holiday though VTrans has asked that as much parking as possible be restored downtown in anticipation of a busy Fall weekend downtown.

 

The Future of the Temporary Access Road

One of the perhaps unexpected benefits of our downtown project is the way in which it has inspired the community to envision the future of our public spaces.

 

Since it was constructed in 2018, the temporary access road along Otter Creek has drawn that kind of attention as a potential riverwalk for the town.

 

There are legal and environmental reasons why we need to shift our attention elsewhere for a riverwalk.  Here’s why.

 

As a reminder, the access road was built in 2018 to provide a temporary roadway into and out of the Battell parking lot during those phases of construction that required closing the Merchants Row entrance to the Battell lot.  Once we reopened the Battell driveway on September 18, the access road was closed to all but construction traffic.

 

Access to a riverwalk built on the site of the temporary access road would be across private property (the Battell driveway) and the pathway itself would sit on railroad right of way, not town property.  Negotiating any sort of public access this close to an active rail line (not to mention any crossing of the track) would be a real challenge.

 

But this assumes that the access road will remain in place, and that's not the case.

 

In the coming weeks, in accordance with environmental permits issued to the state for the project, the access road will be removed and the stream bank of the Otter Creek reconstructed and restored to its original elevation.

 

The stones lining Otter Creek will be replaced with rip rap and grubbing material.  Steel sheets will be installed to anchor the embankment, which will measure just 18 inches wide at its crest.  Grasses will be planted to stabilize the embankment.  A swale will be built on the rail side of the embankment to help manage drainage.

 

I’ve included a cross-section of the design of the restored embankment below to illustrate the transformation that will take place as that embankment replaces the flat access road.

The purpose of this reconstruction of the stream bank, of course, is to provide flood protection for the rail line, the rail tunnel, the town utility lines that both cross and run parallel to the rail line, and the Battell parking lot.

 

Vermont Book Shop Reopens

Have you been inside the remodeled Vermont Book Shop yet?  The Main Street store reopened this week and it looks great.  The new hours are Tuesday – Saturday 10 AM – 2 PM.  Online orders and pickup are still available through Stone Mill.  You can read all about it and check out all the new book releases here.

 

And finally, in another restoration project, your Community Liaison will be taking a brief vacation next week.  I’ll be back with another project update in two weeks.

 

That’s all for today.  See you downtown.

 

Please keep your comments and questions coming.  Send me an email at jgish@townofmiddlebury.org and I’ll try to cover it in my next update.

 

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