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2021 Update #16

Sidewalks, Trees, Walls

The Highlights

  • Town to replace sidewalk and curbing on Main Street starting next week

  • Caring for our newly planted trees

  • Progress on the south cap wall project

Summer came early to Middlebury this week.

But, as at the P.O., neither snow, nor rain, nor temperatures in the 90s—nor gloom of night, for that matter—can halt the steady progress downtown toward the mid-August completion of our project.

Before we begin our weekly tour, I wanted to let you know that a Town of Middlebury project to replace some worn-out sidewalks and curbing downtown on Main Street between Merchants Row and Bakery Lane/Mill Street is about to get underway.

You may recall reading about this project back in March when I was previewing this year’s local construction projects. Since then the Town of Middlebury has contracted with Champlain Construction to rebuild these downtown sidewalks.

The project will begin this coming Monday, June 14, with saw cutting and removing the old concrete curbing and replacing it with granite curbing—except across the Battell Bridge, where the new curbing will remain concrete.

Then the sidewalk itself will be removed, a sub-base built, and concrete sidewalk panels formed and poured in the process you’ve probably become quite familiar with in central downtown.

To protect the safety of the construction crew and pedestrians, Main Street through the Battell Bridge area will be restricted to one alternating lane of traffic during the day while construction is underway.

All buildings will remain accessible at all times and I don’t believe there are any plans to impact parking except temporarily at the very top of Main Street, where new granite curbing (but not new sidewalks) will be installed in front of the Community House and alongside the Town Green.

Champlain Construction hopes to wrap up the entire project by the Fourth of July weekend.

To take a closer look at the sidewalk reconstruction plan, click here for the upper section of Main Street and here for the section between Merchants Row and Mill Street/Bakery Lane.

Our Newly Planted Trees

This week concerned locals reached out to me asking about the fate of the three honey locust trees planted last August in front of the Battell Block on Merchants Row. One of these trees has not survived its first months in the ground and the other two appear to be struggling to establish themselves.

This concern prompted a meeting on Tuesday between the VTrans field team and the consulting arborist on the project. The upshot is that Landshapes will replace the honey locust tree closest to the intersection of Main and Merchants and our Department of Public Works will take over regular weekly watering of all 15 newly planted trees, including the maples and hawthorns in Triangle Park.

The consulting arborist will monitor the two honey locusts on Merchants Row as well as all the new trees in Triangle Park in the weeks ahead.

Your Weekly Construction Update

This week we’ll start on the south end of the project, where the Witch and Kubricky crews continued to work side by side to methodically saw cut and hammer out the south cap wall alongside the rail corridor south of Merchants Row.

In the photo below, you can see a section of the cap wall—this one weighing in about 8400 pounds—being lifted off the U-wall. Each section is then transported to the Fifield yard. The second photo shows the crew hammering out the remaining few inches down to the top of the U-wall.

On Wednesday, Kubricky relocated the crane to the upper Battell drive, which the rest of this week will be closed during the day and then reopened at night. During the day, all traffic will enter and exit the Battell parking lot through Water Street.

As the demo progresses, Kubricky will start tying rebar and begin forming up the new cap wall.

Work in Lazarus Park has been in a holding pattern while some complicated grading issues (the land drops off sharply from Main Street to the Marble Works) are being ironed out. With a revised plan in place, Kubricky can start laying out sidewalk grades.

Waters is working on a footing for the stairs that will take pedestrians down to the stone paver labyrinth and will then will continue to form and pour the Lazarus Park sidewalk next week. It’s been determined that the sidewalk needs to be in place before Landshapes can begin assembling the labyrinth.

ECI has now completed the north cap wall on the Marble Works side of the rail corridor north of Main Street and is expected to complete work on the east side cap wall later this month.

We’ll wrap up this week’s coverage at the Amtrak rail platform, where Kubricky began installing underdrain and grading out the sub-base as shown in our final photo of the week. Next week they will begin tying rebar and forming up the concrete platform itself.

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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