Middlebury rail bridges fix delayed until 2016

MIDDLEBURY — Citing surging cost estimates and a longer-than-anticipated construction timeframe, officials planning the replacement of Middlebury’s two downtown railroad overpasses said the project is now slated to begin in 2016, rather than this spring.
Local project manager Bill Finger confirmed this news on Jan. 1. It changes the town’s original game plan, which called for replacement of the Main Street and Merchants Row overpasses to begin this spring, an undertaking that was estimated to span two construction seasons at a cost of $18 million — largely state and federal funds. For its part, the town of Middlebury in 2013 voted to contribute up to $500,000 for some public amenities related to the project.
Plans call for the two rail overpasses to be replaced with a massive concrete tunnel that will in turn create some extra surface area in the downtown by filling in the now-vacant space between Triangle Park and St. Stephen’s church on the town green.
“Early optimism about the ease of construction, its duration and impacts on the community has been tempered by more realistic assessments based on additional technical information and the construction experience and expertise of the general manager/general contractor,” Finger said.
The Addison Independent will provide a more detailed report of this late breaking news in its Thursday, Jan. 8, issue.
Reporter John Flowers is at johnf@addisonindependent.com.

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