For decades the volume of traffic flowing on McMaster’s Avenue (U.S. 61) at Hannibal High School has been a concern, especially before classes begin and immediately after they dismiss.
For decades the volume of traffic flowing on McMaster’s Avenue (U.S. 61) at Hannibal High School has been a concern, especially before classes begin and immediately after they dismiss. However, following three traffic accidents at Brookside Drive and McMaster’s earlier this school year, that concern shifted to a new level.
Since the end of January, a committee consisting of representatives of the Hannibal public school district, Hannibal Board of Education, Missouri Department of Transportation and city of Hannibal has been meeting and discussing issues such as traffic flow in that area and potential options that would enhance safety.
“MoDOT had a lot of preliminary information. They knew there are 30,000 to 40,000 vehicles that go by the high school daily,” said Rich Stilley, business manager for the school district. “We’re trying to get research on how many accidents there have been (at Brookside and McMaster’s).”
Some short-term solutions are already being discussed.
“We’re just taking a look at what we can do within the (high school) parking lot and have students, faculty and staff be smart about how they go out at the end of the day,” said Stilley. “Maybe a right in and right out (policy) during certain periods of time for our students, so they’re not trying to make that left turn to go south (on McMaster’s). They’d have to go right and then turn around and come back down (McMaster’s) if they have to go south. It’s a lot easier than trying to go (turn left out of the high school parking lot or from Brookside) across three or four lanes of traffic.”
Installing school-zone lights that would flash at certain times of the day is an option. Such lights would cost in the neighborhood of $15,000, according to Stilley.
Putting traffic signals in would be cost prohibitive at an estimated $750,000. Stilley says funding assistance for traffic signals would not be available from MoDOT.
“MoDOT’s funding is significantly reduced,” he said.
The recommendations from the committee will be sent on to the city’s Traffic Committee for consideration.
“We had hoped to have some answers for our meeting coming up toward the end of this month. With all the weather and not being able to study the parking lot, it’s probably going to be into March before we have a formal recommendation,” said Stilley.
Whatever proposals are made, they will have improved safety at their core, according to Stilley.
“We’re trying to take a proactive approach to keeping our students, faculty and citizens of Hannibal safer, especially during the core times at the start and end of school. That’s when it’s congested in that area,” he said.