Riverfront project expected to go out for bid in September

The approximately two-week survey and relocation of mussels along the Hannibal riverfront has reportedly been completed, setting the stage for the riverfront renovation project to move forward.

Andy Dorian, director of the Hannibal Parks and Recreation Department, advised the Hannibal Park Board last week that the work of EcoAnalysts, hired by the city to survey and relocate the mussels found in the river along the riverfront, was nearing an end.

"Today was supposed to be the last day," said Dorian during the Aug. 16 meeting of the Hannibal Park Board at City Hall. "I have not heard if they got everything done."

Aron Lee, assistant director of the Parks Department, said Monday afternoon he had been at the marina and had seen no evidence that the divers were still working.

According to Dorian, as of last Thursday no endangered species of mussels had been encountered. If an endangered mussel species had been found it would have triggered an additional study by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department, plus the creation of an additional plan to relocate them.

Completion of the mussel survey and relocation are important steps in the permitting process that must be completed before any full-scale renovation work on the riverfront can commence.

"We've been told it's about a 30- to 60-day process on the permitting once they get the divers' report," said Dorian. "We hope to get the permits sometime in October."

Sometime in September a mandatory pre-bid meeting with interested bidders will take place.

"Right now we have targeted 24 different contractors in Missouri, Illinois and Iowa that we are going to send bid packages to," said Dorian. "The goal is to get the bids in the first week of October then review everything, including the alternates.

"If we've got a good (bid) number that we are comfortable with then we will be able to finish the bond process. If everything holds according to plan we would like to have the contracted bonding in place of the second Council meeting in November with construction to start soon after."

Dorian anticipates a 360-day contract schedule will be set to complete the riverfront work.

"We very much hope it's (done) a lot sooner than that," he said. "Winter weather and flooding are going to dictate that. If we get a good, mild winter like we've been getting and no spring flooding, they will be able to move pretty fast. It's just stuff you can't predict."

Danny.henley@courierpost.com