It’s been over a month since the Hannibal City Council accepted the $828,000 bid of Bleigh Construction for replacement of gutters, curbs and old sidewalk on North Main Street.
While the removal of the existing concrete has yet to start, City Engineer Mark Rees says work is going on “behind the scenes.”
“I’m sure their (Bleigh’s) office is a flurry of activity,” he said.
Among the items being dealt with is the selection of color for the warning pavement that will be installed at the end of each block to alert sight-impaired pedestrians that they have reached an intersection. For the record, those downtown truncated domes will be red.
Another behind-the-scenes hurdle was cleared earlier this week when Rees sent a letter of approval to the Missouri Department of Transportation regarding the sub-contractors that Bleigh will be using on the project.
Once Bleigh is ready to start work the city will issue a formal notice to proceed.
“I don’t know if they will even start before the Folklife Festival,” said Rees, referring to the event scheduled Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 20 and 21.
The Folklife Festival is one of a handful of times when the replacement project will halt to accommodate event organizers, business people and the public. Other stoppages include during the Christmas shopping season (Thanksgiving to Christmas), Twain on Main (Memorial Day weekend) and National Tom Sawyer Days.
“After that it should be done,” said Rees, adding that the entire project could be completed by next year’s July 4 big celebration.
While the work will be scheduled so as to not interfere with major downtown events, smaller activities will be asked to yield the right of way to the project.
“They should be able to use different streets. We hope those events will have more flexibility,” said Rees.
According to Rees, even when the old concrete is removed, a gravel path will be left in front of storefronts until it is time to pour the new concrete.
“Bleigh is good about keeping access open,” he said.
When the work begins, it will start on the north end of Main Street. It has not been decided if the contractor will do both sides of the block at the same time, or one and then the other.
“Both options have merits,” said Rees. “One poses less inconvenience while the other is faster.”
Once all the sidewalk work on North Main Street is completed, the next phase will begin. That work will consist of removing the old pavement and applying a new 2-inch asphalt surface.
“It’s the concrete that takes the time. The mill and overlay will seem to take place overnight,” said Rees.