rail bridges project

VERMONT SECRETARY OF Transportation Joe Flynn cuts the ribbon before the ceremonial first train traveled through Middlebury's new rail tunnel on Friday. Independent photo/Steve James
MIDDLEBURY — More than four years of planning, dozens of often contentious meetings, a 10-week burst of around-the-clock construction and $72 million in state and federal funding all came down to a seven-minute train ride on Friday, Sept. 18, that ceremoniously signaled the completion of a massive new rail tunnel and the reopening of downtown Middlebury. Scores of facemask-wearing spectators lined the route of the “first train” with eight rail cars that hosted various municipal and Middlebury College dignitaries; representatives of Kubricky Corp., VHB Engineers and the Vermont Agency of...
With camera phones rolling, hundreds of area residents lined the streets as ribbons were cut at the reopening of Middlebury’s Main Street and Merchants Row last Friday and the first train rumbled through the newly minted tunnel downtown. The scene sparkled with marble curbing shining on expanded sidewalks, the asphalt black without a blemish, and a clear, blue sky on a crisp autumn day adding to the overall euphoria.  The opening symbolizes, as selectboard Chair Brian Carpenter said at the event, a new era for the town. Most Middlebury residents agree and are looking ahead with the utmost...
Now that we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel of the Middlebury railway project, I am reflecting back on the excellent customer service, hard work and assertive creativity that so many people put into keeping the town vibrant. Some of my personal experiences: Becky Dayton and staff at Vermont Book Shop, Ilsley Library, Greg at Main Street Stationary, Tae (sp?), and other staff at Greg’s, Stone Mill, and Agway.  One day that stands out for me is the day I was in town with my husband, son and grandsons. We went there to watch the construction and ended up getting involved in the...
On Friday morning, a ceremonial first train took the inaugural journey through the brand-new rail tunnel in Middlebury, marking the end of the 10-week shutdown of downtown. The Addison Independent's digital editor Megan James covered the event live.   Afterwards, Middlebury selectboard chair Brian Carpenter spoke at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Main Street, and a small parade of firefighters, ambulances and other service workers followed.  

Workers installing sidewalks in downtown Middlebury remove a wooden form in front of a Merchants Row business Thursday morning. Work on the $72 million downtown rail tunnel project will wrap up next summer, but the 10-week shutdown of down is drawing closer to its conclusion. Independent photo/John S. McCright
MIDDLEBURY — The town of Middlebury, the Vermont Agency of Transportation and Kubricky Construction are organizing a socially-distanced ceremonial opening of the new downtown Middlebury rail tunnel, set for Friday, Sept. 18.  Here’s the scoop, according to Project Community Liaison Jim Gish: On Friday morning, Middlebury will mark the end of this summer’s 10-week shutdown with a ceremonial first train through the new downtown rail tunnel and a ribbon-cutting ceremony to reopen the newly restored Main Street and Merchants Row to pedestrians and thru traffic.  A Vermont Rail passenger train...

MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE GEOLOGY Professor Dave West explains how limestone is susceptible to deterioration over long periods of time, caused by acid levels in rain. With construction exposing downtown bedrock, West took the opportunity to explain what lies beneath our feet. Independent photo/Alexa Lapiner
MIDDLEBURY — The massive railroad tunnel construction project in the downtown has dug deep into Middlebury’s bedrock, exposing a deep-seated geology that most of us rarely — if ever — think about.  Turns out, these rocks that we can now see formed in a much different environment hundreds of millions of years ago and reveal an interesting story of tropical days and shifting plate tectonics.  This is an elementary review of the type of rock that underlies Middlebury, including some of what workers are blasting through to build the railroad tunnel.  The bedrock in the Middlebury area is mostly...
On behalf of the Middlebury Bridge & Rail Project team, I want to thank the National Bank of Middlebury and the Middlebury community in general for its cooperation and for its support of the men and women of our construction crew who are working to rebuild Middlebury’s downtown. Recently, as covered in the Addison Independent, the National Bank held a cookout for both the day and night shift crews, a total of some 60 workers. This is just one of the many ways in which the downtown community and the citizens of Middlebury have made us feel part of your town in the four years we have been...

JIM GISH, LEFT, community liaison to the downtown Middlebury rail bridges project, walks with reporter John Flowers near the opening of the massive new concrete railway tunnel under Main Street and Merchants Row. The project is in week six of a scheduled 10-week, around-the-clock work schedule. Independent photo/Alexa Lapiner
MIDDLEBURY — There was a time in my 20s when I dreamed of reporting to work in a war zone wearing a helmet and flak jacket emblazoned with the word “Press.” Life took me to a different, peaceful place — Addison County — though the flak jacket might have come in handy during some of those Vermont Gas pipeline hearings in Shoreham and Middlebury back in 2013-2014. But finally, at age 58, I was able to don a helmet for a reporting assignment. It happened on Friday, Aug. 21, and the setting was indeed a dusty, upended urban setting that had endured blasting. Downtown Middlebury. The blasting in...

NATIONAL BANK OF MIDDLEBURY President Caroline Carpenter chats with Middlebury Bridge and Rail Project workers at a hot dog lunch the bank hosted behind its main office on Aug. 25. Photo courtesy of National Bank of Middlebury
MIDDLEBURY — National Bank of Middlebury thanked and celebrated the Middlebury Bridge and Rail Project crew with a hot dog lunch on Tuesday, Aug. 25. More than 60 downtown workers on the “big dig” were treated to a hot dog lunch, potato salad, beverage and homemade cookies. NBM wanted to say thank you for the extraordinary work the crews all do in all kinds of weather. It has been a hot summer, and they are out there long days and through the night working to keep the downtown project on its aggressive schedule, which looks to wrap up Sept. 21. Joel Bouvier of the bank’s Facilities group and...

THIS SUMMER’S AROUND-THE-CLOCK construction in downtown Middlebury is taking a toll on those who reside and do business there. But most merchants contacted by the Independent this week said they’re getting by thanks to loyal customers, and they’re looking forward to the conclusion of the heaviest work by mid-September. Independent photo/Alexa Lapiner
MIDDLEBURY — Downtown Middlebury is taking some uppercuts during its summer-long battle with a once-in-a-lifetime construction project. But those on the front lines — the downtown merchants, residents and shoppers — continue to pick themselves off the canvass and remain committed to going the full 15 rounds. And prevailing. That’s the general takeaway from a series of interviews with property owners, residents and local officials who are literally living with the cacophony of noise, dust, nighttime lighting, detours and other inconveniences of a $72 million rail tunnel installation project...


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Addison County Independent

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Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
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