Work is progressing on the revised downtown sidewalk plans, according to Mark Rees, Hannibal city engineer, who had a meeting recently regarding the project.
“We had an exchange of ideas and MECO is progressing on the design,” he said. “There’s nothing earth-shattering yet and no real milestone progress has been made, but it’s right around the corner.”
According to Rees, revisions to the original plans, which included two-tiered sidewalks in some spots, are in step with what the City Council approved at its Dec. 18 meeting.
“No more two-step sidewalk; no more ‘bells and whistles’ at the corners,” said Rees.
At the time of the meeting at the end of January, the finished plans were still weeks from completion, according to Rees.
“Very roughly it will be two to four weeks, and two would be better. Four weeks would take us to the first of March. We’d like to be building sidewalk by the first of March, but that seems kind of aggressive to me at this point. These things usually take a little while. I would be very surprised to see it in two weeks,” he said.
During a Dec. 3 public meeting regarding the sidewalk project, residents strongly indicated their desire to see the plans before work resumed. While that opportunity is still planned it will occur after other steps are taken, including going before the Historic District Development Commission (HDDC).
“The HDDC meeting right now would be the beginning of the process of showing this to the public. We need to take that step before we go back to the DOT (Department of Transportation). Probably about that time I’m guessing we’ll be showing it to the merchants as well,” said Rees.
Since the revised plans aren’t in hand yet, Rees declined to estimate when construction work might resume.
During the Dec. 3 public meeting, some city officials indicated they would like to see the installation of new sidewalk on North Main wrapped up by National Tom Sawyer Days in early July, if not sooner. Rees is quick to distance himself from that early July completion target.
“I never have predicted the Fourth of July. When I lined out the time line it always seemed too aggressive and this (revising the plans) only further complicates that,” he said. “There’s a lot of dynamics at work here, but I never have predicted we would be done by Tom Sawyer Days. I’ve always said I would be pleasantly surprised if we were, but I really don’t expect it.
Page 2 of 2 - “We (the project) will be buttoned up (during Tom Sawyer Days) unless somebody makes a different agreement. We won’t have construction going on during that time if it isn’t finished.”