It appears a solution has been discovered that should satisfy most North Main property owners and clear the way for the downtown sidewalk replacement project to resume when weather permits in 2013. The proposal was approved by the Hannibal City Council during its Tuesday night meeting.
According to a memo from Hannibal City Manager Jeff LaGarce to the City Council, a way has been found to “extend sidewalks to the full 12-feet, without steps, ramps, railings, or loss of sidewalk frontage.”
Complaints started rolling in at city hall after workers began installing a two-tiered sidewalk in the 300 block of North Main Street. It was explained during a Dec. 3 public meeting that the tiered design was necessary in that portion of the street’s west side. That no longer appears to be the case, according to LaGarce.
“The key lies in changing the horizontal street alignment,” wrote the city manager. “Essentially, the street will be modified to accommodate ‘grade level’ sidewalks, not the other way around, and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) guidelines will all be met.”
The challenge for design personnel is that the east side of Main Street is lower than west side properties. LaGarce says a “3 percent street grade from the east to west side of Main should horizontally align the respective curbs without need for steps, stairs, ramps, or railings.”
As for rain runoff, all stormwater will be collected in street inlets on the east side of Main and piped underground to nearby manholes.
Architechnics, the project’s architect, estimates it will take 90 days to complete its necessary work. Once the redesign has been finished another public meeting for North Main property owners will be arranged so they can see the proposed plans.
“It is our hope this solution satisfies 100 percent of property owners,” wrote LaGarce.
Provided the proposal receives a “thumbs up” from North Main merchants, it would then be sent to the Missouri Department of Transportation to secure its approval, which is necessary since some state funds will be used to help pay for the project.
The redesign is not expected to significantly delay the project, which was abruptly stopped last month after unhappiness surfaced over the two-tiered sidewalk.
“Since construction activity was not anticipated during the holiday season these changes should cause only minimal delay,” wrote LaGarce.
Architechnics’ fee for the redesign work will not exceed $35,131, raising the project’s total cost to just over $863,000. According to the city manager the additional cost “should minimally impact property owners.” During the Dec. 3 public meeting, LaGarce promised he would find the money necessary to cover any additional costs.
On Tuesday night, LaGarce would not speculate on what the changes might do to construction costs.