By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — It’s early February and Middlebury is blanketed by snow, but spring thaw will usher in a variety of road, water and sewer-related improvements in Addison County’s shire town.
Chief among them a major rehab of the sewer force main that runs from the Rogers Road pump station under Route 7, north to Charles Street, Water Street and then to Cross Street.
Middlebury Director of Operations Dan Werner explained that corrosive soils have caused several failures in the force main during the past few years. Those failures have prompted the state to order Middlebury to repair the force main by this August.
Since replacing the line would require a lot of digging — and therefore substantial disruption to traffic — town officials are hoping contractors can simply slide a cured pipe-liner inside the force main. Werner explained this “slip-line” tactic would require less excavation and fewer headaches for travelers.
Unfortunately, the two firms that have bid on the job have submitted proposals that exceed the town’s project estimate of $775,000.
“We are going to have to think about how we’re going to approach this,” Werner said.
Selectmen had hoped to ask voters on March 30 to endorse a bond issue to finance the project, with payback to be reflected in municipal sewer users’ bills. But since the lowest bid for the work is $938,838, the town’s public works committee and selectmen will need to decide whether to up the bond amount or pick a different strategy.
If the project proceeds toward a favorable vote on March 30, selectmen could award the contract on April 8, with work commencing in late spring and concluding in late summer, Werner said.
While area residents won’t see a repeat this summer of the massive road repaving work that has dominated the past two construction seasons in Middlebury, there will be plenty of other projects to keep local road crews and private contractors busy.
They will include:
• Water main replacement along Rogers Road, from Route 7 to just north of the Danyow Drive intersection with Rogers Road. There will be water main replaced along Danyow Drive and also Birchard Park, a new storm sewer will be installed along the west side of Rogers Road to pick up sump-pump discharge, and sanitary sewer manholes will be rehabbed.
Werner said this project is in the design phase and will be bid shortly.
• Water main upgrades involving Charles Avenues, Merchants Row and Buttolph Drive.
Charles Avenue will get new water main from the curve at the north end of Middlebury Union High School, to Water Street. Buttolph Drive will get new water main from the Middlebury Commons apartment complex north to the Addison County Courthouse driveway.
Merchants Row will see replacement of water main from the Civil War monument to the railroad overpass. This work will eliminate an old water main under the Steve’s Park Diner basement.
Werner said this project is entering design phase, and a mid-summer start is planned.
• Paving portions of Three Mile Road/Shard Villa Road.
The first section will begin at Route 7 and run 880 feet west. The second starts three-tenths of a mile east of Halladay Rd and runs west to the curve at the Middlebury River bridge. The third section starts at the Salisbury town line and runs north about 1,500 feet.
The road surface and base will be ground up. A cement powder base will be mixed into this material, re-graded and compacted. The road will then be paved with four inches of asphalt. The approaches at Blake Roy Road and at Three Mile Road will be paved.
The project will be sent out for bids soon, according to Werner.
• Shim-and-overlay projects involving Airport Road, Morningside Drive and a section of Buttolph Drive. Morningside Drive will see improvements to its cul-de-sac. The interior of the cul-de-sac will be re-graded so the drainage basins work properly. The road will be widened in places and repaved.
Buttolph Drive will be re-paved between Brookside Drive and Washington Street after the water main installation is complete.
• Replacement of the water main along Quarry Road, south to Foote Street. The engineering design process will begin shortly and should be complete by August, Werner said. The first construction phase will begin in the spring of 2009. Plans call for this to be a three-year project.
• Replacement this summer of a deep culvert near the east end of Painter Road.
• Sidewalk replacement along Route 125 in East Middlebury near Goodro Lumber; along Court Street south of the old courthouse; and on sections of Street Seminary Extension and South, Seymour and Weybridge streets.
Werner is hoping for good working weather and patient drivers.
“It’s a lot of work, but it’s kind of spread around a bit,” he said, adding disruption will mostly affect people living in the neighborhoods where the work is occurring, as opposed to through-traffic.
Werner noted that some of the work is contingent upon the municipal budget passing on Town Meeting Day.
“The voters have been supportive of the projects we’re trying to do to keep their infrastructure in good shape,” Werner said. “We can only do it with their support.”