2021 Update #6
Final Five Months of Construction Begins Next Week
Previewing April work
Updating other Middlebury construction projects
The final five months of the Downtown Rail & Bridge Project will get underway next week as Kubricky and its subcontractors return to Middlebury to resume the work that drew to a close for the winter last December.
In Triangle Park, Waters and Landshapes will continue to set in place the concrete pavement and granite pavers that make up the new “hardscape” section of the park around the historic fountain near the intersection of Main and Merchants.
Across the street in Printer’s Alley, we’ll start to see the new Lazarus Park take shape. Kubricky plans to install the retaining wall that will bound the stone paver labyrinth funded by St. Stephen’s and sidewalk construction will likely begin this coming month.
Along the north end of the rail corridor, Kubricky will begin setting the concrete cap walls that will form a protective top surface for the U-walls and a base for the decorative railing that will sit atop the wall. You can get a sense of the finished product in the photograph below showing the U-walls, cap wall, and railing south of Merchants Row.
We’ll continue to see construction vehicles entering and exiting the Fifield Farm yard on Route 30 south of the golf course, though nothing like last summer’s U-wall parade through town.
In related project news, Middlebury’s Public Health & Safety Committee recommended to the Selectboard at its March 23 meeting that Franklin Street, the one-block town road connecting Academy Street and Storrs Avenue (shown in the photo below), remain one way in future.
Franklin Street was reconfigured from two-way to one-way last Spring to add 20 parking spaces for downtown shoppers and to facilitate the movement of oversized tunnel components down Route 30.
A final decision on Franklin Street will be made later this year following a required public hearing.
Other Construction News
Let’s catch up on some of the other construction projects that you’ll encounter in your travels in and around Middlebury this Spring.
This week if you found yourself on Route 7 south of Court Square you no doubt noticed that a crew from The Belden Company—as heralded by the portable message boards set up along Route 7—got to work on upgrading the Town’s water main between Court Square and Cross Street.
The first order of business here is installing and testing a temporary waterline so that the old line can be removed and the new water main set in the same trench as the old line. That trench sits underneath the southbound lane of Route 7 and so, around mid-April, flaggers will limit this section of Court Street/Route 7 to a single lane of traffic during the day.
As I mentioned in our last update, the contract for constructing the Amtrak Rail Platform has been awarded to Kubricky and we can expect work to begin in mid-April with excavation of a foundation for the platform across the track from The Depot/County Tire at the back entrance to the Marble Works.
You may recall that passenger rail service to Vermont on Amtrak’s Ethan Allen Express and the Vermonter was suspended last March in the early days of Covid. This week Governor Scott reported that his office is in discussion with Amtrak about resuming rail service. No word yet on when the Ethan Allen Express, which originates in NYC, will be extended to Middlebury.
In our last update we also noted that our Public Works department will further improve the look and walkability of downtown by replacing more sidewalks on Main Street.
At its March 23 meeting, the Middlebury Selectboard awarded the contract for this work to Champlain Construction. Work is expected to begin in mid-May and wrap up around July 1. As a reminder, the goal here is to reconstruct the Main Street sidewalk between Merchants Row and the intersection with Mill Street and Bakery Lane and to install new granite curbing at the upper end of Main Street near the intersection with Seymour Street.
Finally, as we’ve been reporting, this Spring and Summer VTrans will be repaving the state highways that pass through downtown Middlebury. That work will get underway next week on the north end of the project, near where High Street joins Route 7. Coarse milling of that section of Route 7 is expected to begin the week of April 19. This work is scheduled to take place at night between 7 PM and 6 AM.
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.