2021 Update #31
Construction redux in Triangle Park
Post-construction inspection of downtown buildings
A sigh of relief on Water Street
Let’s kick this week’s update off with a photo of the new sidewalk on Seymour Street.
Extending on the west side of the street from the National Bank’s drive-in branch up to County Tire and paralleling the newly installed steel railing fence atop the U-walls, the new sidewalk gives pedestrians a safe path on this heavily trafficked road.
Your Weekly Construction Update
Our downtown construction project, as it turns out, had one final act to stage in Triangle Park before fully turning its attention to the minor repairs that will bring the Middlebury Bridge & Rail Project to completion.
Early Tuesday morning, a crew from Green Mountain Pipeline out of Royalton VT set up operations in Triangle Park to install a fiberglass liner in one of the new stormwater pipes that sits about 35 feet below ground between the fountain and the park’s new green space. The liner will help prevent groundwater from seeping into the stormwater system.
In our next photo of the week, you can see the liner being threaded into the 42-inch-diameter, 85-foot-long stormwater pipe through a manhole near Merchants Row.
Once the liner had been installed, it had to be cured for several hours with blown-in steam that then exited a manhole on the Main Street side of the park.
That made for a long day and night but by mid-day Wednesday, the Green Mountain Pipeline crew had decamped for their next job in Ausable NY. A second crew arrived on Thursday to complete the underground sealant work.
Kubricky will clear Triangle Park for the weekend and then pressure-wash the sidewalks and restore the grass in the coming days.
How Did Our Downtown Buildings Do?
For the past two weeks an inspector from the geotechnical services firm Geocomp out of Acton MA has been conducting a post-construction inspection of some 22 downtown buildings that sit immediately adjacent to construction.
The buildings range from County Tire and residential homes on the north end of the project to the Smith Housing Partnership buildings on the south end and include, notably, the historic buildings in the center of downtown, among them St. Stephen's, the Battell Block, Town Hall Theater, the Gas House, the Duclos building, and, at 7 Seymour Street, the oldest house in Middlebury.
Before construction got underway, each building was thoroughly inspected with the property owner to visually document its condition. Several buildings were continuously monitored for vibrational impact throughout construction.
Apart from three minor hairline cracks to interior siding, the post-construction inspection has revealed no damage to any of the 22 buildings.
Considering the amount and intensity of construction—from blasting in the rail corridor to driving sheet piles on the north end—that’s a remarkable achievement and a direct benefit of the amount of planning that preceded construction.
Water Street at Rest
For the past 12 years, the residents of the one-block Water Street neighborhood that dead-ends at Otter Creek have lived through one construction project after another: the building of Cross Street Bridge, the repair of the trestle rail bridge over Otter Creek, and now the downtown construction project.
Throughout our project, Water Street has been the most active point of entry and exit for construction vehicles as well as the access road into the Battell parking lot.
But on Thursday morning, birdsong and chipmunk chatter were the dominant sounds on Water Street as Kubricky began moving its last construction vehicles out of the neighborhood, having spread topsoil and re-seeded the area, as shown in our next photo, after removing the access road into the Battell building.
The Water Street neighborhood had to bear a lot during 50-some months of construction. But they did it with patience and good humor—even feeding the construction crews with home-baked treats.
That attitude seems a mark of how our community at its best handles adversity and all that has come our way recently. And the same could be said for the residents of the Battell building, the Willard Street and Maple Street neighborhood, the Marble Works condominiums, and all our other residents and business owners that have lived with construction as a daily presence.
The Rest of the News
Rounding out the week’s construction news, Printer’s Alley, closed to motorists since Summer 2017, reopened to traffic entering the Marble Works from Main Street as planned last Friday.
As we go to press Thursday, Waters is expected to complete water-proofing our fountain this week so that it can be turned on, this time for good.
Between actual rain and the threat of rain, this week was a bust for putting the final course of paving on our highways around town. J. Hutchins will try again Thursday night and then next week.
Up at the Amtrak rail platform, Greenwood Industries, a roofing contractor out of Worcester MA, continues to install the standing seam metal roof at the platform and Kubricky is constructing an enclosure at the south end of the rail platform to house a lift to assist disabled passengers in boarding and exiting the train.
I’ll be taking a short break next week and then back at the end of the month to bring you an update on the finishing touches of our project as Fall foliage season arrives.
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.