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New Haven train depot set to move on Jan. 12

THE NEW HAVEN Train Depot, pictured here last winter, is just days away from being picked up and moved. Town and state officials, as well as local supporters, have been working for the past year to develop a relocation plan for the 19th-century building, which the Vermont Agency of Transportation says must be moved or demolished. Independent file photo/Steve James

NEW HAVEN — The historic train depot located at the junction of Routes 7 and 17 in New Haven will begin the first leg of its journey to a new home on North Street this coming week.

“Everything is looking good to go,” selectboard member Steve Dupoise said on Monday, noting that the town had obtained all the necessary state permits and hired flaggers for the operation.

Last month, Dupoise signed the bill of sale transferring ownership of the building from the Vermont Department of Historic Preservation to the town of New Haven.

The 19th-century depot, which has been on the National Register of Historic Places for nearly 50 years, can’t stay where it is because its close proximity to the tracks presents a safety hazard for the passenger trains that are expected to begin traveling this corridor at 59 mph this summer, according to the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans).

Since learning last winter that the building would need to be moved or demolished, local and state officials have been working out a plan — and securing funding — to relocate the building to a town-owned lot on North Street.

After this month’s move the depot will overwinter in the parking lot of the town office/library until a foundation can be poured nearby in the spring.

JAN. 12, 3 A.M.

The “big move” begins Wednesday, Jan. 12, weather permitting.

Messier Moving Company, which has been prepping the building for the past two months, will roll it out at 3 a.m., according to a memo issued by the town on Dec. 29.

They’ll haul it onto Route 7, head south for a few hundred feet, then cut through the Jiffy Mart parking lot on their way to the parking lot shared by Clegg’s Memorials and the New Haven Post Office on Route 17.

Route 7 in New Haven Junction will be closed to traffic during this early-morning move and will reopen after the installation of new railroad crossing signals.

JAN. 12, 9 A.M.

Once it reaches Clegg’s, the depot will sit tight for a few hours.

Then, at 9 a.m., it will begin its journey east up Route 17, for about three-quarters of a mile or so, before turning left into a field just north of Forrest Drive.

Traffic on Route 17 will be closed for several hours to make way for the operation.

Originally the New Haven selectboard had hoped to follow Route 17 all the way to North Street, but the cost of temporarily removing physical obstacles became too high. The route now calls for passage across farm fields.

Once begun, the entire move — including starting and stopping and overnighting — could take as long as nine days, depending on how things go as the depot gets hauled across those fields, according to the town memo.

So far the weather is looking pretty good, Dupoise told the Independent.

“It’s doing just what we want it to do. It’s getting good and cold and a frost is setting into the ground.”

Temperatures are expected to creep back up in the coming days, but officials are hoping the ground will stay hard enough to allow for easy passage over the fields.

As it stands now, the movers are hoping to cross North Street on Jan. 20 or 21. The town plans to erect signage to alert motorists when the time comes.

POWER OUTAGES

As the depot makes its way north, the Vermont Electric Power Company (VELCO) and Green Mountain Power (GMP) will need to “de-energize” three different sets of transmission lines at three different times, to allow the moving caravan to pass under them.

Currently VELCO is scheduled to cut the power to the first set of lines on Tuesday, Jan. 18, and to the second set of lines on Thursday, Jan. 20.

On Jan. 20 or 21, GMP will cut power along North Street so the depot can be moved to its temporary winter home.

As transmission lines get “de-energized,” power will get rerouted from other sources, so there should not be any power disruptions at the transmission-line level, Dupoise said. But homes and businesses along the route may experience temporary local outages.

For more information about the upcoming train depot move, call the New Haven town office at 802-453-3516.

Reach Christopher Ross at [email protected].

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