Work kicks off on Wednesday in long-awaited road improvement program.

Rock Street and Fourth Street will be the first Hannibal thoroughfares to receive attention when the city’s multi-million dollar street improvement program kicks off Wednesday, June 7.

“We’ll definitely start on Rock Street,” said Brian Chaplin, superintendent of the Department of Public Works. “We’ll start milling at the same time on Fourth Street.”

Rock Street was chosen because of the problems the concrete street has, according to Chaplin.

“It will be wedged and overlaid both because of all the irregularities that are in the street itself. We’ll put a thin coat through it and then another 2 inches (of asphalt) on top of it. That way we’ll eliminate the cracks and bumps, and areas that are bad in the street,” he said.

Considering the pavement problems that exist throughout America’s Hometown, only a short list of streets has been compiled thus far.

“Wednesday when we start it will be on Rock, then we’ll go to Eighth, Fourth, Fifth, Bird, Sixth and Dulany,” said Chaplin. “Then we’ll meet again next Friday, pick some more streets and decide what we need to do, and keep things moving.”

Chaplin anticipates there will be a number of strategy sessions as the program advances.

“Putting such a big project together we want to meet as much as we possibly can to make sure everybody is on the same page, see how everything is going and progress from there,” he said.

Not only will those directly involved in the project be sharing information regularly, Chaplin promises those impacted by the work — residents — will be provided details often, too.

“We want to keep everybody in the loop,” he said. “We’re also going to try and put together a hot line through our phone system that people can call. It will have a list of streets for that week or the next two weeks so that people will know where we’ll be at. If they have any questions they can leave a message and we’ll give them a call back.”

The city has already started contacting residents in neighborhoods where the initial work will be taking place.

“We’ve been putting flyers out on vehicles,” said Chaplin. “We’ve also been knocking on doors to let people know we’ll be there in a couple of days just to give them a heads up.”

One of Chaplin’s biggest concerns as the project begins is that citizens will ignore requests not to park on streets during certain periods when work will be taking place.

“Please move your vehicles because I’d sure hate to tow them and we would have to tow them,” he said.

Chaplin asks the public to “bear with us.”

“It’s going to be kind of hectic at first, but it will iron itself out and things will start moving like textbook ... easy-peasy,” he said. “I am excited. It should work out. I hope it does anyway.”

The start of the project is one day past the one-year anniversary when it was announced by city officials that $6 million in bonds would be issued to cover the cost of the planned street work.

During the June 6, 2016, press conference at City Hall, Chaplin reported that a street inventory revealed that 55 percent of the city’s 117 miles of streets were either in need of an asphalt overlay or a complete reconstruction.

Reach reporter Danny Henley at danny.henley@courierpost.com