2021 Update #10
Moving Into May
Previewing the final four months of construction
Rail platform and paving project updates
For the past five years, through the planning stage and into construction, VTrans and its partners have regularly updated the Middlebury Selectboard and the community on project progress.
These public meetings have taken place in the Town Offices, at Town Hall Theater and the Champlain Valley Unitarian Universalist Society on Charles Street, and, more recently, virtually on Zoom.
With just four months left now until work draws to a close, the project managers for VTrans, VHB, and Kubricky presented the final construction season’s plan to the Selectboard at its Tuesday meeting this week.
Following a brief review of what we accomplished together last summer, the team highlighted the work still to take place this year in the downtown parks and along the rail corridor before the project closes out in August.
If you’re a regular reader of these updates, you’ll already be familiar with much of what was discussed. You can read through the PowerPoint here or view the approximately 30-minute-long presentation on MCTV here. The discussion begins at about the 27-minute mark of the meeting.
One task recently added to this year’s list is to replace the trim work—what we’ve been referring to as the “cap walls”—that sits on top of the U-walls that line the rail corridor south of Merchants Row.
You may recall from last year that VTrans and Kubricky were testing a new process for applying concrete to form the cap walls, one that would have saved time versus the conventional process. A post-application analysis revealed some flaws in the concrete that will require replacement. More on this as we move into May.
Your Weekly Construction Update
Rain slowed some of the work downtown this week but let’s look at what we accomplished and what’s in store for next week.
Not much activity in Triangle Park this week. As we move into May, we’ll see Landshapes install the final granite pavers and Kubricky spread top soil and seed the green space between the new sidewalks connecting Main Street and Merchants Row.
As the month progresses, the chain-link fences around Triangle Park should start to come down. As I mentioned last week, the fountain is being restored and will return to Triangle Park later this Spring.
Across the street in Printer’s Alley, as shown in our first photo of the week, the new sidewalk along the National Bank’s Duclos Building opened for the first time to pedestrians and Landshapes set in place the ashlar blocks that will define the upper section of the ADA-accessible sidewalk connecting Main Street and the Marble Works through Lazarus Park.
Weather permitting, next week Waters will begin forming up and pouring the upper section of that sidewalk and Kubricky, having poured the footings for the retaining wall that encircles the stone paver labyrinth this week, will begin installing rebar and forming up the wall itself.
Kubricky is constructing a retaining wall behind the Smith Housing Partnership building south of Merchants Row and, as shown in our second photo, ECI continued the rather labor-intensive process of forming up and pouring concrete to form the cap walls on the section north of Main Street.
Other Construction News
In last week’s update, I reported that work on the Amtrak Rail Platform had come to a temporary halt as excavation for the platform’s footings unexpectedly uncovered a ductile iron pipe of unknown provenance in the railroad right of way. Then a second pipe was uncovered, further mystifying the crew.
Mystery solved. These were disconnected and abandoned water and stormwater lines that are now being removed. Next week Kubricky will complete excavation for the rail platform, form up the footings for the piers that will support the platform, and, again weather permitting, pour the footings later in the week.
Turning to the downtown highways paving project, before the rain arrived the Hutchins crew completed the first course of paving—known as a shim course or leveling course—on both the northern and southern sections of the project. Next, Hutchins will work on catch basins before applying a second and final level of paving, known as the wearing course, toward the end of May. As a reminder, this work takes place overnight between 7 PM and 6 AM.
As with the paving project, rain delayed The Belden Company’s work on the Court Street water main project. As weather permits, the Belden crew will continue working north from Cross Street toward Court Square between 8 PM and 6 AM. The temporary travel lanes through this area will continue in place.
Finally, the Town project to rebuild the Main Street sidewalk between Merchants Row and Bakery Lane/Mill Street that we talked about earlier in the year is poised to get underway in June. More on that as we get closer to the start of construction.
Bikes for Everyone
Looking to buy or sell or maybe even swap for a bike? Then you’ll want to head on over to the annual bike swap Saturday starting at 9 AM in Cannon Park. The swap is hosted by Frog Hollow Bikes and Middlebury Safe Routes with support from the Town of Middlebury, and knowledgeable volunteers will be on hand to help out. The usual Covid restrictions apply but the weather looks promising so the event organizers look forward to seeing you on Saturday.
That’s all for today. See you downtown.
Please keep your comments and questions coming. Send me an email at email@example.com and I’ll try to cover it in my next update.