Middlebury, Weybridge move forward on sidewalk

MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury and Weybridge officials have picked a contractor to build more than 2,000 feet of new sidewalk that will link Seymour Street to Otter View Park off Pulp Mill Bridge Road.

It’s a $760,000 project that’s scheduled to be completed next summer, according to Addison County Regional Planning Commission Executive Director Adam Lougee, who is managing the project for the towns of Middlebury and Weybridge. Once installed, the new sidewalk will provide added safety for walkers and joggers who routinely exercise along what is a scenic, undulating route that includes up-close views of Otter Creek and the historic Pulp Mill Covered Bridge.

It’s a project that’s been on the drawing board since 2014, when Middlebury and Weybridge jointly received a 90 percent federal/state grant to pursue the sidewalk. It will originate at Otter View Park at the intersection of Pulp Mill Bridge Road and Route 23, then extend along the Otter Creek side of Pulp Mill Bridge Road, connecting with the pedestrian walkway next to the Pulp Mill Bridge, then continue on down Seymour Street, where it will join an existing section of sidewalk.

The sidewalk will include granite curbing.

Middlebury and Weybridge will cover the $76,000 local match required for the grant.

Middlebury selectboard members on Dec. 11 unanimously picked Don Weston Excavating Inc. to do the work for a price of $498,597. Weston was the lowest of four companies that submitted bids for the work, which must be completed by July 19 of next summer, according to Lougee.

The roughly $260,000 in the budget that is not earmarked for construction will cover other project costs, including engineering, attorneys’ fees and hiring a construction inspector, according to Lougee.

Work should take around 10 weeks to complete, he added.

Lougee cited the easement negotiation process as the main reason why the project has remained on the drawing board for so long. The sidewalk route includes a dozen separate landowners, all of whom were given an explanation of the potential impacts of the work on their respective properties. The contractor will have to make sure to restore any private property affected by the construction along the right of way to its original state.

“They were really good to work with,” Lougee said of the adjacent landowners.

Reporter John Flowers is at johnf@addisonindependent.com.

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