By DOUG WILSON
Herald-Whig Senior Writer
HANNIBAL, Mo. -- Mark Twain Avenue will remain a five-lane street after a proposal for a three-lane configuration with bike and pedestrian paths failed to win public support.
"This section of road is due for resurfacing, yet we wanted to see if there was interest in making other improvements at the same time," said Brian Haeffner, area engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation, in a press release.
The resurfacing project is slated to begin in the summer of 2015 at an estimated cost of $1.2 million. MoDOT is involved in the project because it ties in with Mo. 79, which is a state route.
A public hearing on the lane configuration was held this spring. MoDOT officials considered leaving a center turn lane and one lane each to accommodate northbound and southbound automobile traffic. The outside lanes would have been made narrower for use as bike lanes.
Engineers looked at the change after noting the street is not a busy travel route. Traffic counts have fallen 40 percent since the Mark Twain Bridge opened and funneled traffic onto the Interstate 72/U.S. 36 corridor. However, those attending the meeting preferred the five-lane configuration.
"We appreciate the interest in this project and were glad to have public input to help us make the decision," Haeffner said in the release.
In addition to design work along Mark Twain Avenue, MoDOT plans to resurface all lanes from just south of Grand Avenue to Stowell School on Mo. 79. Resurfacing will include parking spaces along Third Street. Other improvements include upgrading the sidewalk on the south side and making the road pedestrian and bicycle friendly.
The existing pavement will be removed and replaced with a new asphalt surface. This resurfacing does not include the Third Street Overpass, or viaduct.
"The viaduct is in good shape and is not in need of improvements at this time," Haeffner explained.
Resurfacing and striping the parking spaces along Third Street are included in the project and will be funded by the city of Hannibal.