New poles, underground wiring, and LED fixtures and lights to be installed.

Preliminary work has begun on the Hannibal Board of Public Works' (HBPW) latest lighting upgrade project, along a section of U.S. 61.

“The underground boring contractor (Bill Sullivan) arrived last week and worked a couple of days,” said Heath Hall, director of operations for the HBPW, referring to the week of Dec. 18. “MoDOT (Missouri Department of Transportation) will not allow him to work between Christmas and New Year’s, so we expect to see him after Jan. 1, weather pending.”

Not only could winter weather hinder Sullivan's work, but that of HBPW personnel, who will be pulling the wire, setting the poles, and installing the fixtures and lights.

“Extreme cold and difficult driving conditions would not allow any (boring) work to be done,” said Hall. “The HBPW’s portion is weather dependent as well. Any time you are working in the roadway, the driving conditions need to be as close to normal as possible. Any snow or ice would suspend work due to worker safety. And the line trucks do not operate well in temperatures below freezing.”

The new light-emitting diode (LED) lights will be installed along the highway from West Ely Road/Pleasant Street to Highway MM/James Road.

“The lighting should look a lot like the northern end of Highway 61,” said Hall.

As for the project's timeline, in August Jared Stewart, HBPW electric line superintendent, told HBPW Board members that the lighting work should take place before MoDOT's planned improvement project along the U.S. 61/McMaster's Avenue corridor. That MoDOT work is tentatively slated to begin in the late spring of 2018.

Last week, Hall said the HBPW hopes to have its lighting work completed “sometime before June 30th.”

In recent years the HBPW has been budgeting money annually to undertake lighting projects within the city. Last year LED lights were installed along Ely Street, from the Sodalis Nature Preserve parking lot to Warren Barrett Drive.

In January of 2017, the HBPW began installing LED lighting along Harrison Hill/Palmyra Road from U.S. 36 to U.S. 61.

In 2016, the HBPW set a goal of replacing a 52 high pressure sodium lights with LED bulbs in the downtown area.

In 2015, a light change-out program was undertaken along Broadway and McMaster's Avenue. Hall says switching to LEDs holds multiple benefits.

"LED lights will emit more light, but use less power. You will definitely notice the difference between the new and old," he said. "Also LED bulbs have a much longer service life than the existing high pressure sodium bulbs, meaning they will require less maintenance."

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