Middlebury to undertake $6 million in water, sewer, street upgrades

MIDDLEBURY — The Rolling Acres, Buttolph Drive, Butternut Ridge and South Street neighborhoods of Middlebury will resonate with construction activity this spring and summer as the town will initiate a combined total of almost $6 million in infrastructure improvements to those areas.
The most dramatic work will occur on South Street, which is slated for a $3.5 million makeover that will span two construction seasons, according to Middlebury Director of Operations Dan Werner.
Middlebury Department of Public Works officials will host a meeting for South Street neighbors to go over construction plans for their road, which will include upgrading sewer, water, paving, portions of the sidewalk and curbing along the well-traveled road.
“We looked at (all the problems) and decided it was time to do the whole thing,” Werner said, explaining that when you have to dig up portions of the road anyway to get to water and sewer conduits, it makes financial sense to address paving and other surface needs at the same time.
Specific work on South Street will include:
•  Replacement of the sewer force main that runs from the north drive of Porter Medical Center (Collins Drive) north to the south Chipman Park entrance. The gravity-fed sanitary sewer system starts at that point. This gravity system will be replaced from Chipman Park all the way to Main Street.
•  The water main and storm sewer infrastructure will be replaced from Main Street all the way to the hospital.
•  Curbing will be replaced on both sides of the street, as will some areas of the sidewalk that are in particularly rough shape. Crews will try and level out sections of sidewalk that are sagging at driveway crossings.
•  Repaving of the street in a manner that will preserve parking on the east side of the road, but will provide for a 3-foot-wide area along the southbound lane that will be reserved for bikers and joggers.
•  Three new crosswalks at the intersections of Green Mountain Place, north Chipman Park and south Chipman Park.
“This will help reduce the ‘boulevard look’ that the street has now,” Werner said.
•  Water main replacement on south Chipman Park, and new water main and sanitary main in areas of Green Mountain Place.
“We anticipate this project to be put out for bid in May, with some work starting this summer,” Werner said. “The majority of the work will be done next year.”
So South Street residents — already contending with construction traffic related to the Eastview at Middlebury retirement community — are in store for another two years of disruption before seeing their road fixed for the long-term.
Werner said the work would be done in a manner that preserves one open lane to the greatest extent possible. The town will work to make sure emergency vehicles have quick access to the hospital and Middlebury Volunteer Ambulance Association headquarters, according to Werner.
The busy 2012 construction season will also include a major water main replacement project in the Rolling Acres subdivision. Werner said crews will replace the current 2-inch main with an 8-inch main.
 “It will improve (water pressure) for fire protection and increase water flows,” Werner said.
He said the new main is almost completed at this point. After it is pressure tested and chlorinated, the contractor will concentrate on connecting the new main to individual homes, some of which had relied on well water. Paving will proceed this summer.
Anticipated cost of the project: $420,000.
Also on the docket this spring is major work on Buttolph Drive, slated to begin around May 1. Contractors have already finished water main work, with storm sewer and sanitary sewer infrastructure — mostly on the west side of the street — upcoming. Sidewalk, curbing and paving work will follow.
“This street has been in horrible shape for many years,” Werner acknowledged, citing drainage problems as a contributing factor.
Anticipated cost: Around $1,050,000.
The 2012 agenda also includes major work at the Butternut Ridge subdivision of Route 116.
Werner said the project, also estimated at a combined total of $1,050,000, will include replacement of water main, storm water system upgrades and repaving. New culverts will be added to promote better drainage, he added. In all, the project will involve repaving of 4,200 feet of roadway and 4,150 feet of new water main, Werner said.
Other projects on the drawing board and close to being put out to bid:
•  Replacement of water main in the Painter Hills subdivision.
•  Paving portions of Quarry Road. In the meantime, plans call for some culverts to be replaced.
•  Creation of a “grit drying bed” at the town’s wastewater treatment plant. This facility would be engineered to allow for grit from sanitary main cleaning and process tank cleanings to be de-watered and dried before disposal. That substance is currently hauled away at significant expense to facilities outside of the county. The de-watered grit could be disposed of locally, Werner said.
Officials stressed that the town already has funds to direct to the improvements cited above. Townspeople recently approved bonds of $3 million each for highway and water system repairs.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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