Brick by brick

Reconstruction of sidewalks in Stowe village is coming right along. Next week, concrete will be poured on the south side, and bricklaying will continue on the north side for accents.

Crews from Dale E. Percy Inc. are down to the finishing touches on Main Street’s sidewalks now.

The sidewalks are being reconstructed and conduits for the utility wires along Main Street are being buried underneath them with $6.6 million approved by voters last November.

The sidewalks were deteriorating, and steps are being taken to make them safer for pedestrians and bring them into line with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

And the wires? In one of the most scenic towns in the nation, the wires along Main Street have long been a visual irritant. Now, they’ll be out of sight.

The work has moved swiftly since it began last month. Sidewalks are substantially poured on the north side, which includes the Akeley Memorial Building, and concrete pouring on the south side will begin next week.

Brick setting will continue this week, and concrete for driveways and entrances for businesses will be poured on the north side of Main Street from 109 Main St. to the Akeley Building.

Trees could be planted as early as next week, depending on the weather.

There will be minimal work today, May 30, because of Stowe’s Memorial Day parade (see inset at right).

Five utility companies now use the village utility poles, including the Stowe Electric Department.

Now, utility lines will run behind the buildings on Main Street’s north side, behind Stowe Dental Associates, joining up to run underneath Cemetery Road before running underneath Main Street.

Directional drilling behind Stowe Dental began last week, said Abby Earle, public outreach coordinator for the project.

Directional drilling is a method of digging sideways or angled holes. A drill bit starts the job by digging a narrow hole in the direction where the 16-foot-diameter conduit will later be placed.

Then, equipment is used to dig backward to widen the hole.

Directional drilling will continue for a few more weeks, Earle said.

Two drills are being used. One is set up just past Maplefields, and the other at the Cemetery Garage.

Each will drill about 320 feet, for a total of 640 feet, Earle said.

Additionally, work is being done on the roof of the town-owned Vermont Ski Museum at 1 S. Main St., and the Stowe Electric Department will replace utility poles in front of Von Bargen’s Jewelry next week. There will be some traffic impacts, squeezing three lanes of traffic into two.

Night work will begin on Monday, June 3. From 7 p.m. to 6 a.m., downtown traffic will be reduced to one lane and detoured around the village. Detour routes and details are still being worked out, Earle said.

Sidewalks are also being installed in the lower village as part of the Vermont Agency of Transportation’s Route 100 Waterbury-Stowe project. The sidewalk runs along the east side of Route 100 between Sylvan Park Road and Thomas Lane and the west side of Route 100 between Thomas Lane and River Road. All sidewalk work this week will be done at night.

Crews will be excavating and constructing the curb and sidewalk, and grading an existing bike path along the west side of Route 100, beginning north of River Road.

Crews will continue repairing existing drainage pipe inlets and outlets and completing slope work by laying stone at driveways along Route 100. This work will be completed at night except within the Stowe lower village.

Questions about the VTrans project can be directed to Megan Savage at 802-496-3376, and Earle will handle questions about the Stowe village work at 802-253-7350.

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