South Street work tops short list of Middlebury public works projects

MIDDLEBURY — A substantial overhaul of water and sewer infrastructure under South Street will dominate a relatively short list of Middlebury public works projects this spring and summer.
The list, discussed on Thursday by Middlebury Director of Operations Dan Werner, also includes water and sewer upgrades on Charles Avenue and Water Street, along with paving projects for portions of Foote Street, Lower Foote Street and the Painter Hills subdivision.
This year’s work list is substantially shorter than in recent years, Werner acknowledged. That’s in large part due to the spend-down of two major bond issues authorized around three years ago by voters for various road, water and sewer-related projects. Local voters in 2010 OK’d a $3 million bond to chip away at a mounting backlog of needed repairs to the town’s water system infrastructure over three fiscal years. Early in 2011, they passed another $3 million bond to take care of 17 different road improvement projects that might otherwise have lingered on the drawing board.
Werner explained the last vestiges of that bond money will be spent this year, with South Street work being the most high-profile investment. Work, to begin early next month, will extend from Porter Field Road south to the entrance of the Eastview at Middlebury retirement community. The project will include new water main, gravity sanitary sewer, sewer force main, some drainage work, and recycling and paving of the street. The existing water and sewer infrastructure is antiquated and needs to be replaced, Werner explained. An asphalt pedestrian path will be built from the Helen Porter Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center to Eastview. New crosswalks will be installed on South Street at Porter Field Road and at the Middlebury College baseball field.
It’s a project expected to cost $1,126,316. Werner anticipates work will wrap up by the end of October.
Travelers should expect some delays.
“There will be one lane of traffic from Porter Field Road and the hospital,” Werner said. “It’s unavoidable.”
This will be the first phase of work on South Street. A second phase — to involve more water main, sanitary sewer and drainage work, along with the installation of curbing and repaving of the road from Main Street to Porter Field Road — will be performed once the town has saved up enough money to do the job. It’s a job that will cost more than $1 million, according to Werner.
Also on the 2013 projects agenda: Installation of new water main, sanitary sewer and drainage improvements in the Water Street/Charles Avenue area. The improvements will extend from Water Street up Charles Avenue, south to the curve opposite the Middlebury Union High School football field. Some additional water main work will extend a little further south on Charles Avenue, toward the high school.
Also a key part of this job: Construction of a new sidewalk on the west side of Charles Avenue, with curbing and some street reconstruction. The sidewalk will make it safer for students walking to and from the high school, Werner noted.
Officials believe the total cost will be in the $800,000 range. Bids from contractors are due on April 18.
The only other major, road-related capital improvement on the 2013 agenda involves paving a combined total of around a mile in the Painter Hills subdivision and small sections of Foote Street and Lower Foote Street. Area residents will note that a portion of that paving will replace gravel road on Lower Foote Street, from the Omya Inc. driveway to Cady Road.
Middlebury residents should consider this year as somewhat of a lull in road-related construction before next year’s anticipated “storm,” which will take the form of replacement of the downtown railroad bridges on Merchants Row and Main Street.
“With the bridge projects going on next year, we will have enough to deal with,” Werner said.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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