Pike Industries files for “no-vibration zone” through Cavendish, Proctorsville villages

CAVENDISH, Vt. – In response to concerns over damage being done by heavy equipment vibrations to older homes and historically significant buildings along Route 131 in the villages of Cavendish and Proctorsville, Tuesday, June 15, Pike Industries submitted a change request to VTrans that would designate the villages “no-vibration” zones. The change would switch the project designation from highway construction to road construction through the villages, resulting in smaller, less damaging equipment being used.

In their Monday, June 14 meeting, the Cavendish Selectboard discussed concerns over severe vibrations from equipment being used for the Route 131 paving project that may be causing damage to several homes and historic structures along Route 131.

Board member Stephen Plunkard, who owns property on Route 131, expressed concern that vibrations created from vibrating rotors being used in the road construction was causing damage to foundations, including his own. Plunkard said that he and other residents, including Cavendish Historical Society President Margo Caulfield, whose home is also on Route 131, were working with Pike Industries, the road construction company, and members from the VTrans to see what could be done to prevent further damage down the road, suggesting they would propose no-vibration zones when construction was going through both villages of Cavendish and Proctorsville on Route 131.

In a follow-up conversation with Caulfield, she said that she had been communicating with a Pike Industries representative and someone from their insurance company and VTrans and had provided a door-to-door survey of the village houses in Cavendish and Proctorsville, giving their addresses, clues as to the age of the property, and whether they had a stone foundation or any other condition issues.

“During that survey, I saw that many of our houses are really older, over 100 years old, including many with their original stone foundations, even though other structural renovations may have been done,” she said.

In her survey, Caulfield identified “three structures that are listed on the National Historic Registry – the Cavendish Universalist Stone Church, the Cavendish Historical Society Museum, and the Castle Hill Resort & Spa. In addition, Cavendish has a number of snecked ashlar buildings [stone houses] most built in the 1840s, including two by the famous architect Lucious Paige – Glimmerstone and Hickernell House. There are also a number of Victorian houses, some built as early as 1869, as well as examples of Queen Ann, Georgian, and Gothic architecture.”

Caulfield recommends that property owners along Route 131 begin documentation of the condition of their properties, particularly the foundations as the project continues. In Caulfield’s case, although her foundation has been unharmed, she has noted damage to her chimney since the project began. During Monday’s meeting, Plunkard also expressed concern over financial impacts to property values saying that to many that live on Main Street, their home is their biggest asset and their equity may be at risk.

Nicholas LaClair, project director for Pike Industries, confirmed the change order request had been submitted to VTrans, which will take approximately seven days for review. Pike is currently not working in the village areas but are in the Downers Four Corners area working their way west on Route 131 and won’t continue work in the villages until a decision has been made on the change order request. Construction in the Proctorsville Village near the green is not slated to begin until Cavendish Town Elementary school year ends, which is Thursday, June 17 for students and June 18 for teachers.

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