Roadway resurfacing, new curbing, sidewalks, signals among planned improvements

Spring will usher in a fresh chapter for McMasters Avenue, as the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) embarks on a multi-stage, 4.2 mile project spanning from north of Highway 168 to the Warren Barrett/U.S. 61 intersection in Hannibal.

Transportation Project Manager Kim Trainor, P.E. and fellow MoDOT representatives hosted a presentation and answered questions during a public meeting Tuesday, July 25, at the MoDOT Northeast District office. The $6.5 million project will be completed in phases between spring and fall 2018, encompassing improvements like road resurfacing, new curbs and sidewalks, additional crosswalks and new signals. Trainor noted that nearby businesses, residents and representatives of the school district were consulted for details like the timetable of the project phases.

Hannibal School District Superintendent Susan Johnson commended MoDOT officials for reaching out with advance notice, so school district officials can plan for large events like the Hannibal High School graduation ceremony and the Mark Twain/Becky Thatcher Track meets that attract numerous schools to Porter Stadium. Johnson said that discussion with MoDOT resulted in a specific time when school is not in session — June 18, 2018 for the Stardust Drive intersection work. The intersection phase is expected to last for about 80 days. Rerouting traffic for summer school will be easier than it would be during the regular school session, Johnson said.

Johnson added that summer school dates can be adjusted based on which phase the project is in, and bus transportation routes will be altered, too. She stressed that safety for students, staff and family is vital, and they will receive regular updates regarding the project and its impact.

Trainor talked about each phase of the project, beginning with resurfacing work that will close one lane at a time from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. As work moves forward on each lane, the middle turn lane will become a through lane, and left turns will not be allowed. Detour signs will be set up to guide motorists to businesses and homes along the route. Trainor mentioned that the contractor will be offered a financial bonus if this part of the project is complete within 80 days, but they will be fined if they exceed that time frame.

Next, curbs will be replaced with taller units, allowing for larger drop inlets for water management. 2,720 feet of sidewalk will be reconstructed and joined by a new, 2,000-foot long sidewalk running from Stardust Drive to Domino’s. Stardust Drive intersection improvements will include a southbound right turn lane, removal of the “No Right on Red” restriction, new signals and pedestrian crosswalks on all sides. The Stardust Drive work is planned for from June 18, 2018 to Aug. 6, 2018, and Trainor noted signs will note the closure of the intersection and side routes throughout the project.

Palmyra resident Robert Bowen said he travels the route frequently and spends a lot of time in Hannibal. He said he appreciated Trainor’s informative presentation and he looked forward to safer sidewalks for Hannibal’s pedestrians and citizens who use wheelchairs to travel south and north on the route.

“Safety-wise, it’s the best they can do, because there are a lot of complications with who has certain rights and different things — but they are trying to at least get the information out and do it ahead of time,” he said.

Trainor said the project would cause temporary changes along the roadway, and she encouraged everyone to remain attentive and patient during the six-month project, remembering the MoDOT program “Buckle Up, Phone Down.” For more information about the project, please visit http://www.modot.org/Northeast/LetsGetMovingonMcMastersAvenue.htm . MoDOT also encourages signing up on the website for electronic alerts by text message or email.

Reach reporter Trevor McDonald at trevor.mcdonald@courierpost.com