Middlebury gets ready for major road projects

MIDDLEBURY — Downtown won’t be the only part of Middlebury dealing with some construction-related challenges this spring and summer.
Workers will be out in full force during the coming months improving portions of Charles Avenue, Shard Villa Road, South Street, and South Chipman Park, according to Middlebury Director of Operations Dan Werner.
This spring, crews will finish up major upgrades at the intersection of South Chipman Park and South Street. Construction began in September and will include a new water main, sanitary sewer, storm water system and replacement of a few hundred feet on each of the two roads, according to Werner.
Most of the work is already done on the project, which will cost around $400,000, according to Werner.
In mid-May, work will begin in a $486,198 reconstruction of Charles Avenue, beginning at the Middlebury Union High School stop sign and extending north around 1,130 feet. The project includes new water main, some sanitary sewer main, a storm water system, sidewalk replacement, street lighting, curbing, road recycling and paving, Werner said. Champlain Construction Inc. is the contractor for the job, anticipated to wrap up at the end of August. The construction zone won’t involve the portion of Charles Avenue beginning at Court Street, leading up to MUHS.
Officials hope this summer to begin stabilizing a 210-foot section of the Middlebury River along Shard Villa Road. The work area is located a few hundred feet south of a nearby bridge crossing the river, according to Werner.
“The river is beginning to under-cut the road shoulder,” Werner explained.
Once the bank is stabilized, the road section south of the Middlebury River bridge will be recycled and repaved, Werner said.
Left unattended, the riverbank section could collapse, taking some of Shard Villa Road with it, officials said.
Crews will conduct borings of the road and shoulder to check the soils and then put together a bid packet for companies interested in the job.
Plans call for the Shard Villa Road project to be completed this construction season, according to Werner.
As previously reported in the Addison Independent, workers have begun extensive drilling at four downtown Middlebury locations to create a drainage system for the railroad bed. It’s the first installment of work on a $72 million project that will culminate in a new concrete tunnel that will supplant the Main Street and Merchants Row rail bridges. The ongoing drainage work is taking up some downtown parking spaces and has cut off vehicular access to the Marble Works complex via Printer’s Alley.
Meanwhile, state crews continue to repave 20 miles of Route 116, a project extending from just south of Robinson School in Starksboro to the intersection of Route 7 in Middlebury. This week saw workers widening the road shoulders from north of J.P. Carrara & Sons to Quarry Road. Work includes excavating the existing shoulders and replacing them with select stone material, followed by new pavement.
Shoulder widening is planned on both northbound and southbound sides of Route 116, which will result in new four-foot-wide shoulders on each side.
Milling work was also scheduled from Ossie Road to East Main Street, stopping just north of the East Middlebury Post Office.
Travel will be reduced to one lane with alternating one-way traffic around all active construction operations. Flaggers will be present to assist in maintaining traffic flow.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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