"As a town that is 251-years-old there [are] lots of things in the ground," said Public Information Officer for the Roundabout Project, Tricia Hayes. With the road being dug up to replace water and sewer lines, Hayes said they have been finding things that were put in the ground about 100 years ago."
One such item was a wooden conduit dating back to 1918 that was buried beneath the road on Main Street in front of Thai Basil that was found about two weeks ago.
"That is about the time that they stopped using wood because wood disintegrates," Hayes said when asked how it was determined the conduit dated back to 1918. "It disintegrated
Another discovery that has been made in digging up the roads to replace the water and sewer lines is that the lines are not located where they were originally believed to have been. Markings were spray painted on the street and the sidewalks with the best estimates as to where the water and sewer lines are located.
When the water and sewer lines - which are 50- and 100 -years-old, respectively - were first installed, Hayes said maps of where the lines were not exact design drawings. Even though the maps were not exact, Hayes said they have not been far off from their original estimates.
"Due to age, some of these systems had not been worked
In addition to the water and sewer lines, Hayes said it is unclear how deep Verizon buried the utility lines that are in front of the First Baptist Church. As a result, Hayes said test holes are being dug to determine where the lines will be relocated.
The back lotting and burying of utilities underground is the first phase of the project, which is being performed by four utility companies - FairPoint Communications, Comcast, Level 3, and Central Vermont Public Service (CVPS).
Throughout this week, FairPoint Communications - in what Hayes referred to as a welcome move - worked at night to facilitate moving their lines off of the bridge.
Meanwhile, with about a month's worth of work now complete on the Roundabout Project, area businesses are assessing the impacts.
Carol Jodlbauer, co-owner of Heinel's Clothiers, said she believes that the Roundabout Project has at least in part been responsible for the decline she has seen in both sales and foot traffic. Foot traffic has declined by at least 50 percent since construction began. Sales have dropped by about the same margin, she said and while the wider economy could be playing a role, Jodlbauer said the Roundabout Project has only made things worse.
While Jon Hand, co-owner of Hand Motors, acknowledged that the Roundabout Project was an inconvenience, he did not believe it was the reason his business's foot traffic has declined a bit.
"I wouldn't hang any of this on the roundabout. The roundabout is difficult for us, but it's [not the cause]," Hand said. "I think there's just too [many] negative issues. People still out of work, people still transitioning. In general I don't think the Vermont economy is real vibrant."
A further negative impact stemming from the Roundabout Project - one that Jodlbauer and Hand both spoke about - is the dust caused by the construction.
"It's just not welcoming to visitors," said Jodlbauer. "I think people want to come and shop and [if] they have to walk through a dust cloud they think twice about shopping."
The dust caused by the construction has caused Heinel's Clothier's to spray the outside of their shop on a more regular basis - something they had done only once a year in the past.
Maintenance inside the store has also increased due to the dust from the construction. Jodlbauer said that not only have they had to sweep much more frequently, but they have also had to use a leaf blower to remove the dust from some of their items.
Hand Motors has also has had to perform more maintenance as Hand said that they have to continually had to wash their inventory - some 150 vehicles - each day.