Middlebury sets schedule for railroad bridge projects
MIDDLEBURY — Engineers planning the replacement of Middlebury’s two downtown railroad bridges anticipate presenting various project options by the end of May in anticipation of construction beginning at the end of next March.
Those details are part of a preliminary project schedule released this week by Vanasse Hangen Brustlin Inc. (VHB), which is engineering the replacement of the railroad overpasses on Merchants Row and Main Street. Those antiquated overpasses have been deteriorating for several years and are to be replaced with new, sturdier spans that will at the same time accommodate double-stack rail cars in anticipation of the eventual restoration of passenger rail service between Burlington and Bennington. It’s a project to be financed with federal and state dollars and in a manner that will allow the town to coordinate the work, expected to cause some temporary traffic and parking woes during construction.
Some of the key benchmarks on the timeline, reviewed by the Middlebury selectboard on Tuesday, include:
• Receiving a jurisdictional opinion by May 10 on what aspects of the project will be subject to Act 250.
• Bringing the project design to 60 percent completion — including detailed cost estimates — by Oct. 4.
• Acquiring the necessary right-of-way easements by Sept. 27.
• Having final plans in place by next spring. Followed by construction beginning on or about March 31, 2014.
This is a timetable that is subject to change, officials noted. For example, if state or federal authorities mandate a more in-depth environmental analysis of the construction area, that could add months to the project timeline.
But so far, everything is proceeding smoothly, according to project manager Bill Finger.
“Everything is going pretty much according to plan,” he said on Tuesday.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected]
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