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2021 Update #15

10 Weeks to the Finish Line

The Highlights

  • Concrete—Stripping it, pouring it, removing it

  • The return of The Friends of Ilsley Library

June’s arrival leaves us just about 10 weeks from the completion of our multi-year downtown construction project. As you’ve likely noticed if you’ve been downtown, there’s a lot of activity underway across the construction sites so let’s get right to our weekly review of the action.

This week we’ll start up on the north end of the project, where Kubricky is constructing Middlebury’s Amtrak rail platform. Our first photo shows the Kubricky crew stripping the forms from the 20 concrete piers (themselves sitting on concrete footers) that will support the platform’s canopy.

Like much of the support infrastructure for this project—remember the launch pit excavated in Printer’s Alley in 2018?—we’ll never again see these piers as next week Kubricky backfills the area and begins forming up the concrete platform itself.

Moving south down the rail corridor, our next photo shows the Carrara concrete pump truck under Thursday’s gloomy skies as the ECI crew is directing a concrete pour into formed-up cap walls on the Marble Works side of the rail corridor.

The concrete is poured into the forms every other 30 feet. Once it cures, the intervening 30-foot sections will be poured and the area backfilled. The work will then shift to the east side of the rail corridor along Seymour Street.

Not much activity in Printer’s Alley this week as both Landshapes and Waters are off on other jobs. Next week Landshapes will return to begin assembling the stone paver labyrinth that will sit toward the bottom of the new Lazarus Park and Waters will finish the one remaining sidewalk panel in Triangle Park before shifting operations to Printer’s Alley.

And finally, removal of the cap wall south of Merchants Row got underway as planned on Tuesday. This is an interesting operation to observe. In order not to damage the precast U-walls on which the cap walls sit, the Witch crew first horizontally saw cuts the concrete and rebar that form the cap wall about 12 inches up from the U-wall.

The saw, which sits within a track, is operated remotely and takes five passes through the concrete with increasingly larger-diameter blades. You can see this part of the operation in our next photo. That blur just to the Witch operator’s right is the saw in motion.

With the concrete cut horizontally, vertical cuts are then made at several foot intervals and holes are cored through the concrete so that, as shown in our final photo of the week, a small crane can pick the cut-out section of concrete (this one weighing in at about 2700 pounds) using steel rods and the crane’s rigging.

The remaining 12 inches of concrete is then carefully chipped out using hand-held jack hammers.

Demolition will continue next week and it is expected that the Battell driveway will be closed on Tuesday or Wednesday for about a month to allow the removal work to be completed and the cap wall reformed and poured. During this period, Battell building residents, deliveries, etc. will enter and exit the lower parking lot through the access road along Otter Creek.

Before we close out this week’s update, The Friends of Ilsley Library have asked me to let you know that, after a many-month hiatus, they will return this Saturday with a sale of CDs, DVDs, and audiobooks between 11 AM and 2:30 PM outside on the Middlebury Town Hall Plaza. A wide selection of items will be available priced from $1 to $3. The event will be cancelled in case of rain but let’s hope not. This is a good opportunity to support your local library and pick up that copy of Die Hard you’ve always wanted.

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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