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Public Post is a community reporting initiative using digital tools to report on cities and towns across Vermont.Public Post is the only resource that lets you browse and search documents across dozens of Vermont municipal websites in one place.Follow reporter Amy Kolb Noyes and #PublicPost on Twitter and read news from the Post below.

New Schedule For Montpelier District Heat Project

The first day students returned to Montpelier's Union Elementary School after their spring vacation on Monday also turned out to be the first day construction crews began work on School Street on the city's new district heating project.

City officials knew this would cause some traffic headaches, especially during school drop-off and pick-up times. But they say the situation couldn't be helped if the city's district heat project is to be kept on track.

A new construction schedule was implemented on Friday, when a pipe delivery arrived without the fittings needed for the 8 inch distribution pipes that contractors began installing this month. The city and its contractor were faced with the choice: slow down the work or split the crew and move one work crew onto a different portion of the project that uses four inch pipe, for which all the needed materials are on-hand.

Union Elementary School is one of the buildings that will be heated by the wood-fired plant that is fueling the district heat project. A news release posted on the City's website explains the change was made to immediately shift one work crew to installing the four inch pipes that will connect the school to the larger distribution pipes.

This schedule change is needed as the first shipment of pipe arrived this week without required fittings to install larger pipe in the center of the system. Kingsbury Companies, LLC currently has the material needed onsite to start work on the leg along School Street. In the interest of continuing work on the project, the decision was made to alter the schedule to allow the crews to move forward.

Work on the pipeline leading up to the school is expected to continue until May 16. In the meantime, a portion of the School Street sidewalk may be closed, parking will be reduced, and drivers should expect delays.

Parking will be significantly reduced along School Street to allow two-way traffic to continue during construction. Vehicles parked on Cedar Street may experience significant delays exiting. At times during the construction on School Street, the sidewalk on the south side of the Street will not be accessible as the pipe is being installed.

A second crew is continuing work on the State Street and Taylor Street portions of the project.

On State Street, the water work currently underway will wrap up next week. In the following weeks, work will begin to lay the piping for the heat distribution system on Taylor Street toward State Street and turning right onto State Street. This work is anticipated to start on May 6th and continue until June 6th.

The map above shows an updated construction timeline. The city is posting construction updates on its website and facebook page, and has a District Heat hotline, (802) 262-6200.

Amy is an award winning journalist who has worked in print and radio in Vermont since 1991. Her first job in professional radio was at WVMX in Stowe, where she worked as News Director and co-host of The Morning Show. She was a VPR contributor from 2006 to 2020.
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