Middlebury 'Big Dig' entering final phase

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. (WCAX) After two years in the works, the final phase of Middlebury's construction project is set to begin next month, but residents are still concerned construction could scare off customers.

VTrans officials presented the finalized plans at a meeting earlier this month. The 10-week summer project will include water, sewer, and storm drainage utility construction and excavation installation and blasting along the railroad corridor.

At that same meeting, VTrans also announced it would give the town's "Neighbors, Together" partnership nearly $230,000 in grants to fund projects supporting the downtown's vitality and accessibility during construction.

"I think one of the most important things that has emerged from this meeting, and during the construction the past two years, is the collaboration between the state and town of Middlebury. And that's paid off in terms of the financial grant, but it's also paid off in terms of the working relationship that's developed and I think that's going to be so key to get this town through this project," said Jim Gish, the town of Middelbury's community liaison for the project.

The construction plan will essentially cut the town in half, making the bridge completely impassable. Neighbors, Together is a collaborative team of Middlebury residents, business owners, and leaders working to protect the community's businesses during construction. It'll use the grant money to put on concerts, pop-up events, and promotions.