Middlebury eyes road, water, sewer projects

MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury’s Foote Street, Creek Road and Painter Road will be hotbeds of construction activity this spring and summer as work crews perform a variety of paving, water main and sidewalk projects.
Dan Werner, Middlebury’s director of operations, took some time on Thursday to identify where residents and motorists might find some temporary, construction-related  inconveniences during the coming months.
Those traveling and residing along Creek Road will see the most disruption to their regular routines. Work will soon begin in that neighborhood on a new, 11,500-square-foot recreation facility that will include a team rooms addition for Middlebury Union middle and high schools. Residents last year approved the recreation facility — along with a new 9,400-square-foot town office building — as part of a $6.5 million bond issue.
Creek Road itself will undergo some major work beginning this June. A combined total of $800,000 (inclusive of a $250,000 federal grant) will pay for rehabilitation of Creek Road and installation of a new sidewalk. The improvements will begin at the intersection of Court Street and Creek Road and continue past the Vermont Agency of Transportation garage, according to Werner. The road base will be replaced and paved. While the road is opened up, workers will make improvements to the storm water and sewer infrastructure.
There are also big plans for Foote Street, Werner noted. That project, estimated at $600,000 to $700,000, calls for replacement of around 3,250 feet of water main that begins at the midpoint of Foote Street and ends at Lower Foote Street. The current fragile, 6-inch main will be replaced with a new 10-inch main, according to Werner.
“Construction should begin in June and last for a couple of months,” Werner said.
Middlebury has applied for $175,000 in state grants toward the estimated $256,457 cost of repaving almost 5,000 feet of Painter Road, from its intersection with Munger Street, heading west. The town’s grant application will be reviewed by VTrans officials in mid-April, with an award decision expected a few weeks after that, Warner stated. The town made some temporary repairs to the road a few years ago to buy some time.
“We are now out of that borrowed time,” Werner said.
Work on Painter Road is contingent on the state grant. If it comes in, construction could begin late this summer, according to Werner.
Meanwhile, a design-engineering firm is drafting plans to connect three North Pleasant Street homes to sanitary sewer service, Werner noted. These three homes are located between Seminary Street and Elm Street. For some unknown reason, they were never connected to the municipal sewer system back in the 1960s and have since been discharging waste through a drain tile into the Otter Creek, according to Werner.
The engineering study will produce a proposed solution that will be funded through wastewater department funds, Werner said.
Speaking of studies, the Middlebury selectboard last week agreed to earmark $14,000 in town funds to add to a $20,000 state grant for a review of possible fixes for the jog-offset intersection of Court Street, Charles Avenue and Monroe Street. The awkward configuration of the intersection is creating traffic problems and safety concerns.
“There is a low level of service at that intersection at peak (traffic) times,” Werner said.
The selectboard hired the firm VHB to perform a study of the intersection for a fee of $32,876. Their work will include assessing existing traffic, pedestrian and cycling conditions; conducting two public meetings to receive input; and proposing three improvement alternatives, outlining cost estimates and permitting requirements for each. The company will recommend a preferred alternative to the selectboard.
Werner said construction of the preferred alternative will likely not happen this year and will be dependent on funding.
Rounding out major projects for this year’s construction season will be the new municipal building to be erected at 77 Main St. Work was slated to begin early this week on the project, due to be completed by next spring.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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