Work on downtown Middlebury rail project to restart

MIDDLEBURY — Work on the rail tunnel construction project in downtown Middlebury will restart this week after being on hold for a month and a half on account of the social distancing order from Gov. Phil Scott.
“So we got some good news,” said Jim Gish, the town’s community liaison with the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans). “We heard from VTrans Chief Engineer Wayne Symonds that Middlebury’s rail and bridge project has been given the green light to restart construction this week.”
Gish told the Independent that strict protocols will be in place to manage the health and safety of both the community and the construction crew, including testing of all out-of-state workers prior to coming to the job site.
“There are new timelines to set and still many details to work through, but I can tell you that VTrans, the town, and Kubricky (the construction company) have set a goal of completing the tunnel and reopening our downtown roadways before Labor Day,” Gish said.
On Friday, Gov. Scott announced steps to open the Vermont economy as the state has slowed the spread of COVID-19. Those businesses that are able to comply with safety measures outlined in the governor’s latest order will be able to send employees back to work under the following conditions:
•  Crews of 10 or fewer employees per location/job to perform outdoor work and construction work in unoccupied job sites effective May 4.
•  Manufacturing and distribution operations may resume with a maximum of 10 employees in any location if they are low-density and ensure employees are always six feet apart effective May 4.
•  Manufacturing, construction and distribution operations may restart with as few employees as necessary to permit full operations if they can meet all health and safety requirements, comply with ACCD guidance and develop enhanced training programs that expand on the Vermont Occupational Safety and Health Agency training — effective May 11.
This latest restart phase includes additional health and safety requirements that build on those in previous addendums, including:
•  Required pre-screening before each work shift, including temperature checks and survey to verify each employee has no symptoms of respiratory illness.
•  On April 27, VOSHA developed a minimum level of health and safety training to be completed no later than May 4 by all employees and documented by businesses and non-profit and government entities in operation.
•  Employers operating with 10 or more employees must now adopt a training program, which can be developed independently, or through industries, trade associations, chambers of commerce or other representative organizations. In most cases, these plans should augment the VOSHA training standards to reflect the unique nature of various workplaces.
•  Businesses and non-profit and government entities may require customers or clients to wear masks, and all commuters are required to wear a mask while using mass transit.
Gov. Scott continues to highlight the importance of limiting the spread of the virus as the state plans subsequent restart measures:
“There is no playbook on what we can expect so we’ve focused on sectors like manufacturing and construction that have controlled environments, open space and built-in mechanisms and expertise in the areas of health and safety training. They’ll be able to set an example for others as we look to do more in other sectors,” he said in a press release.
“We also have to recognize that states like Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York — states right on our borders and just a few hours away — are still confronting massive outbreaks and it only takes one spark, or one unhelpful decision, to reignite this fire. We all need to continue to be smart, cautious and disciplined to preserve are hard-earned gains,” he added.
For a full list of health and safety requirements for all businesses and specifications for each newly opened operation, click here to view Addendum 12.
To view ACCD’s memo to business for specific safety guidelines and protocols, as well as additional resources, visit

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