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Halladay Rd. rail project will affect neighborhood

MIDDLEBURY - The Federal Highway Administration, in association with the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans), has extended the deadline for filing comments regarding the recently completed Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) related to the Middlebury Rail Spur.

The original deadline to file comments was Dec. 23, 2008. The new deadline is Jan. 30, 2009. The deadline was extended to provide citizens and municipalities additional time to study the EIS.

"The original deadline fell in the middle of the busy holiday season, which is a time many people find themselves overextended," said VTrans Secretary David Dill. "Extending the deadline until the end of January will give people a chance to enjoy the holidays, as well as provide additional time to digest all the information contained within the EIS documents."

The EIS evaluates the impacts of a no-build alternative, two build alternatives, and several options associated with the build alternatives. The document identifies rail spur Alternative RS-1 as the preferred alternative. Alternative RS-1 is a 3.2 mile rail spur with an associated loading facility that will improve the movement of freight and industrial materials to and from Middlebury.

The rail spur would commence just outside of the Omya Quarry north of Foster Motors along the Quarry Access Road. The spur would parallel the access road eventually turning west and crossing under both Lower Foote Street and Route 7 and then pass over Halladay and Creek roads before connecting to the existing railroad tracks on the west side of the Otter Creek.

The location of the loading facility would also allow use by other customers located in the nearby Middlebury industrial area. It will forever alter a quiet agricultural and residential area into a busy commercial rail spur.

VTrans will accept written comments about the EIS until Jan. 30, 2009. The EIS can be viewed and downloaded from VTrans' website at www.aot.state.vt.us.

Copies can also be viewed at the Middlebury Town Offices and the Ilsley Public Library at 75 Main St. in Middlebury. CD copies of the EIS can be obtained by emailing Susan Scribner at sue.scribner@state.vt.us or by calling 828-3615.

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