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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Will keeping Mark Twain Avenue 5 lanes impact Shinn Lane?

  • Hannibal’s Mark Twain Avenue and Shinn Lane are miles apart, but it has been suggested that a recent decision regarding one of the roadways (Mark Twain Avenue) might delay improvements to the other (Shinn Lane).
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  • Hannibal’s Mark Twain Avenue and Shinn Lane are miles apart, but it has been suggested that a recent decision regarding one of the roadways (Mark Twain Avenue) might delay improvements to the other (Shinn Lane).
    On July 3 the Missouri Department of Transportation, after receiving what it described as "significant public feedback," announced that when design work begins on Mark Twain Avenue in Hannibal it will retain its five-lane configuration.
    MoDOT had proposed reducing the thoroughfare from its current five lanes down to three, citing the reduced volume of traffic on the avenue since the old bridge closed on Sept. 16, 2010. The city had supported a four-lane proposal.
    Since MoDOT will only be repaving Mark Twain Avenue in 2015, it will not be paying for improvements that had been proposed when the idea of eliminating lanes first surfaced. Among the improvements that must be done when the road is repaved is an upgrading of the avenue’s sidewalks so that they are ADA compliant.
    According to Hannibal City Manager Jeff LaGarce, MoDOT would have covered the cost of the new sidewalks had the state’s three-lane proposal moved forward. However, now the expense of the sidewalk project will fall to the city.
    While LaGarce has as yet no idea what the sidewalk project will cost, he knows how the city will pay for it.
    “Federal STP-Small Urban funds will be used,” said the city manager in an e-mail to the Courier-Post. “We were going to use those funds to enhance the Mark Twain Avenue corridor, but now they must be used to replace the sidewalk.”
    A potential impact on the development of Shinn Lane was noted by Bob Stevenson, general manager of the city’s Board of Public Works, who wrote in his report to the BPW Board in July that the “funds they planned to spend on Shinn Lane design will now be spent on sidewalks and Shinn Lane will be delayed for lack of funds.”
    However, when asked if the city's responsibility for the cost of the sidewalks will limit or eliminate what the city is able to do financially in partnership with the BPW when it comes time to upgrade the busy corridor, LaGarce said it shouldn’t impact Shinn Lane.
    “The city was going to use those STP-Small Urban funds for aesthetic upgrades to Mark Twain Avenue lighting, etc. Since MoDOT will simply overlay the road, there won't be aesthetic upgrades. STP funds must instead be used to rebuild the northern sidewalks to ADA standards, because since there's no aesthetic upgrade, MoDOT won't be building those sidewalks. Whether this money went into an aesthetic upgrade or new sidewalks, it wouldn't have been available for Shinn Lane anyway,” said LaGarce. “We would like to use money from the next federal transportation bill for Shinn Lane. The bill was supposed to happen by Sept 30, but Congress hasn't approved a new transportation bill - just a continuing resolution until spring. We'll see what happens then.”

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