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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.

Four Reasons Why Montpelier's State Street Won't Be Paved This Fall

The City of Montpelier planned to pave State Street - the road the Statehouse faces - this fall, after construction concludes on the District Heat Project. As part of that project, pavement has been torn up along State Street and other downtown roads. Now the city has pushed back the paving schedule to next spring. City Manager William J. Fraser broke the news in a report last month:

There is no question that State Street is a mess and is a high priority for repair. We are grateful that the State has worked with us to get it done this year. It just appears that we will have to wait through one more winter before it gets completed.

In his report, Fraser detailed four reasons for delaying the paving project. He prefaced the list by stating, "No one likes this but here are the reasons:"

  • The State will be doing active construction work on their plant into October and November. It does not make sense to have trucks running over a newly paved road or trying to get the paving work done while the other construction is happening.
  • The City District Heat Project is still on pace to have the system functioning as scheduled, but all of their final work will not be completed. As a result, a paving project would be working around the city’s contractors as well.
  • Paving in October, particularly if we wish to do some night paving, is very difficult due to the low temperatures in the evenings. The work does not hold up as well. If we are going to redo State Street, we want a quality job.
  • Discussions are underway about reconstructing parking in the Capital area which could add 14 - 16 spaces. The design for this work can’t be completed for fall but could be for spring. Therefore, the possibility exists that this could all be rolled into one project. This is not final but under active consideration.

Meanwhile, in June the State obtained an Act 250 permit and construction has begun on the wood-fired central heating plant. Delays in the process mean the plant won't be up and running for the beginning of the heating season. However, Fraser said district customers will have heat this winter:

The result of this timing is that heating through the system is not likely to occur until Mid November and wood chip heating will not occur until February. We are working with our customers to assure that affordable heating is in place for October and November.

Once it is up and running, the District Heat Project will serve about 20 buildings in downtown Montpelier including the Capitol Complex, city and public school buildings, and some private businesses. The project is a joint effort between the City of Montpelier and the State of Vermont to provide local renewable energy by rebuilding the State’s existing central heating plant with modern wood-fired boilers.

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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