Getting kids home safely after school is a top priority in Hannibal, but the latest effort to get that done has hit a speed bump. The city wants to build a new sidewalk on Palmyra Road, but the cost is now higher than anticipated.
The Safe Routes to School project hasn't been a smooth one. It first hit a snag when the city had to use eminent domain to gain control of all the land needed to build the sidewalk on the north side of Palmyra Road. The lowest bid came in $100,000 more than expected, causing the city to see what it can do to cut costs.
Every day you see kids running across Palmyra Road to get home from school. Without a sidewalk, it makes the stretch of road even more dangerous. Hannibal Middle School Principal Blane Mundle said parents have had issues with this area for years.
"I have had calls before from concerned citizens about students that are on their way to school because this is not just an issue when kids get out of school, it can be an issue with kids walking to school," Mundle said.
The danger isn't just for the kids walking on the road. Mundle said drivers are also at risk.
"The drivers, if they have to swerve to avoid students or they are just distracted by students or distracted by people running on the road it can be a very dangerous situation for everybody," he said.
So why did bids for this project end up coming in higher than what the city anticipated? Project Manager Brian Chaplin said since Palmyra Road is so busy, there's more involved than just pouring cement.
"Traffic control is huge, especially on a road that's as busy as this. That takes a lot of signage a lot of extra people and that raises the cost of this project," Chaplin said.
Chaplin said even though the project came in more than expected, he said the city will not abandon it because the need is too great.
"We're not going to change the scope of work. That's not even in the plans, even in the radar right now. We're not going to change anything for the construction, maybe just eliminate a few things that will help out the costs," Chaplin said.
Chaplin said the city will think of ways to cut costs over the winter and hopes construction can start next Spring.
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