2021 Update #2
More Construction, More Improvements
Relocating ACTR’s downtown bus stop
Contractors selected for Amtrak Rail Platform project
Waterline upgrade for Court Street scheduled for Spring
I hope our second update of 2021 finds you well and making plans for better days ahead.
This week I thought I would share an update on two projects that will take place downtown this year in parallel with the final year of our main project: construction of the Amtrak rail platform and a much-needed upgrading of the Town waterline running underneath Court Street.
First, though, let’s look at a plan to relocate ACTR’s downtown bus stop to a safer and more accessible location.
ACTR’s Downtown Bus Stop
You probably recall that ACTR’s downtown hub—previously located on the Town Green side of Merchants Row—was relocated to Academy Street in front of Twilight Hall in 2018 in advance of the downtown construction. That won’t change.
ACTR and Town officials are, however, proposing to relocate ACTR’s downtown bus stop—it’s currently in front of the Post Office on the southbound side of Main Street—to the northbound lane of Main Street alongside Triangle Park.
The bus stop would be located in the two parking spaces occupied by two parked cars in the following photo. I’ve also included here an aerial view of the proposed stop using the post-construction rendering of downtown that you’re probably quite familiar with by now.
The relocation plan was developed and approved by the town’s Public Health & Safety Committee—which includes MPD Chief Tom Hanley and MFD Chief Dave Shaw, among others—working in conjunction with ACTR Regional Director Bill Cunningham and his team. It goes to the Selectboard for review and approval next Tuesday, February 9.
The consensus is that the new stop will improve pedestrian and passenger safety with minimal impact on traffic and parking downtown. There will be no loss of downtown parking; ACTR’s current stop outside the Post Office will return to two parking spots, one of which will be a handicapped space.
ACTR buses run Monday-Saturday so the two spaces comprising the downtown bus stop will be available for parking during church services downtown on Sunday.
To create room for the bus to pull in and out of traffic without impacting northbound motorists, the plan would eliminate the left-hand turn lane onto Merchants Row from Main Street and realign the center line with the Main Street center line south of Merchants Row.
As you can see in the photo below, making this left-hand turn you’re directly facing northbound traffic so this will also reduce confusion and improve safety in our main downtown intersection. The volume of traffic making that turn is relatively light so there should be little impact on southbound Main Street traffic.
Rail Platform Schedule Takes Shape
Amtrak service to Vermont was suspended last March in the early days of the pandemic. The State continues to invest in western rail corridor improvements, however, and eventually the wheels will roll again. Whey they do, Middlebury will be ready to serve as a station stop on the Burlington-New York City Amtrak run.
VTrans recently awarded the contract for constructing the 300-foot-long rail platform to our friends at Kubricky. Construction will likely begin as our downtown project winds down mid-summer.
For its part, the Town has selected Munson Earth Moving Corp. out of Williston to construct the adjacent parking area and upgrade a stormwater line on the Maple Street “S curve.” That work is expected to begin late summer once Kubricky has built the rail platform and wrap up in November.
Court Street Waterline Upgrade
The Town expects to award a contract to the Belden Company out of Rutland to upgrade the Town’s waterline running underneath Court Street between Court Square and Cross Street. As you may have noticed, the waterline in that stretch has been a challenge.
Work is expected to begin April 1 and conclude by July 15. That date is key because that is when VTrans expects to begin repaving Route 7. (We’ll have an update on that project in our next blog.) Work will take place during the day.
I’ll be keeping you fully informed on timelines and impacts of all these projects as we move forward into this new year.
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.