While majority of work for 2017 is done, asphalting could continue into November

Based on the lack of street asphalting activity that has been seen around Hannibal in recent weeks, one might conclude the city’s multi-million dollar street improvement project has slipped into hibernation for 2017. However, Brian Chaplin, Public Works superintendent, is quick to note that appearances can be deceiving.

“We’re not saying they’re not coming back and we don’t know 100 percent they are coming back this year,” he said regarding Chester Bross Construction, the project’s contractor. “It’s not a ‘no,’ but it’s not a ‘yes’ at this time that they’ll come back this year.”

The Hannibal project is one of multiple projects that Bross has been working on this construction season.

“I know they had a lot of other projects going on and they only have so many crews,” said Chaplin. “They know the importance of this (Hannibal’s street) project and want to come back and do a good job for us, which they’ve done this year.

“They would love to come back if they can get these other couple of projects they have pending taken care of. They’re working nights and different shifts trying to get things buttoned up (on the other projects) for the year. If they can spare some time and men, and if we still have decent weather, I can see them coming back, but it’s not 100 percent ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on that yet. I’m still waiting on that answer. It may take another two or three weeks to get that answer. If it is a ‘no’ I know they’ll be back in early April of next year and they’ll be here a good while.”

If Bross doesn’t put down another shovel full of asphalt in 2017, Chaplin will have no complaints.

“They have met their quota for the tonnages for the year. They’re actually over the tonnages that we had down for this year,” he said. “We’ve spent $1.4 million to $1.5 million already this year on what we’ve put down and we still have a lot of asphalt to put down for this project.”

Comments regarding the contractor’s work have been positive.

“I’ve gotten nothing but praise over this project from the city (staff) and residents about what a great job they have done,” said Chaplin. “A lot of the bigger streets toward downtown that we started on turned out really, really nice. We’re just kind of working our way around the town.”

If Bross does return this year, a number of priority streets will be up for consideration during pre-paving meetings involving the contractor, the project’s engineer (Poepping, Stone & Bach) and the city.

“We normally have a meeting three days in advance (of paving). That way we can put together a plan of where we’re going to start,” said Chaplin. “We found it’s the best way to do it. Instead of throwing a bunch of stuff out there, we know how many tons each street requires. That way we know how to put our flyers out to let everybody know when to move their vehicles. It actually works out pretty good.”

Whether Bross does any more asphalting in Hannibal this year depends on the weather.

“Temperatures play a big factor in asphalting,” said Chaplin. “We have to keep the ground at a certain temperature to actually put it down.”

Chaplin believes the window of opportunity for more paving could remain open for at least a month, if not longer.

“I’d love to see them back late this fall to at least get as many streets in until the weather starts kickin’,” he said. “If we could get them back in here in the next month some time, (asphalting could occur) into November if the weather is holding.”

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