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Update sought to Middlebury RR bridges project

MIDDLEBURY — Jim Gish, community liaison for the Middlebury rail bridges replacement project, on Tuesday updated the Middlebury selectboard on the upcoming $40 million project.
Among other things, Gish reported on efforts to relocate the Addison County Transit Resources bus stop from Merchants Row to the north end of South Pleasant Street, and the scheduled start, this fall, of work on a temporary road from Water Street to the Battell Block parking area, and a drainage system that will be built under the former Lazarus building site on Main Street.
Gish also discussed the continuing dialogue between the town and downtown property owners concerned about what they say has been a lack of detailed project information provided thus far by the Vermont Agency of Transportation.
The property owners said they want to make sure they and the town are adequately protected against any potential mishaps during the course of the complex project. They also want the VTrans-Middlebury contract to be updated, as the current pact references a $17 million project, not the latest $40 million version.
Gish and selectboard members said they understand the property owners’ concerns, and added one of their own: The importance of ensuring the project’s drainage system could be temporarily shut down to prevent the funneling of potentially hazardous material from the rail bed to the Otter Creek.
“It is a matter of great concern,” Selectman Victor Nuovo said.

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