Merchants Row bridge to be removed next week

MIDDLEBURY — Jim Gish, Project Community Liaison for the Middlebury rail tunnel project, reports that the pace of work in downtown is picking up, now that Kubricky workers have returned to the work site.
In his May 22 report, Gish said highlights for this coming week are:
• Merchants Row will close to through traffic for the summer starting Tuesday, May 26.
• Merchants Row Bridge to be removed Thursday, may 28.
• Main Street will again be reduced to one lane downtown next week.
• Pedestrian Alert: Footbridge and Printer’s Alley to close at times next week
Gish also reported that the state of Vermont’s easing of restrictions on construction crew size immediately yielded a busy week for the downtown construction project this week. Individual work crews currently are limited to 10 workers and those crews must operate at least 50 feet from one another but that was enough to restart all aspects of the project that need to be completed before the 10-week shutdown.
Kubricky and VTrans are finalizing their timeline for the shutdown and we should know those dates soon.
Work this week stopped at noon on Friday and will resume Tuesday following Memorial Day.
The well-traveled footbridge will be closed for a day or two next week as three minipiles are installed at its north end. Pedestrians walking from one side of the Main Street Bridge to the other will be asked to detour through the town green when the footbridge is closed. And please do not attempt to walk across the Main Street Bridge itself. I’ve said this before and I saw it up close again this week: you do NOT want to be on that bridge at the same time as a tanker truck. It’s truly dangerous.
At the same time next week, Naylor & Breen and DeBisschop Excavating, which have been reconstructing the National Bank’s back parking lot in a separate project, will close Printer’s Alley for two or three days while they install a natural gas line for future use of the bank.

Calling All Kids: Merchants Row Bridge To Go on Thursday
Next week we’ll begin to get a better sense of the impact of this summer’s construction when Kubricky removes the Merchants Row Bridge. This temporary bridge has been in place since Summer 2017. Starting Tuesday morning, Kubricky will close the Merchants Row Bridge to through traffic and begin preparing for its removal by stripping the asphalt and then removing the pedestrian walkway, guard rails and deck panels.
Then on Thursday a 275-ton crane sitting on the Town Hall Theater side of the rail corridor will remove the temporary bridge and send it back to its home in VTrans’s Middlesex yard.
If anyone in your family gets excited about construction, this will be an activity to watch. Best place to observe will be from the walkway alongside of St. Stephen’s. Please maintain strict social distancing — there will be plenty of room for everyone.
Once the bridge is removed, Merchants Row will be closed to thru traffic through the 10-week shutdown. Parking will still be available until the shutdown in front of the Battell Block on Merchants Row, though it may be limited by active construction. Sabai Sabai remains open and available for curbside service.
The sidewalk in front of the Battell Block will remain at all times though walking between Town Hall Theater and Battell will now require a detour through the town green.

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