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No clear timeline on riverfront construction after delays due to flooding

As the Mississippi River falls, work on Hannibal’s riverfront project could soon start back up. But, the floods could mean a setback when it comes to completing the work.

Construction workers said a floodgate is all that’s keeping them from getting back to work. They’re eager to get back on site and figure out a new timeline for the project.

Originally the project was projected for Fall of 2019, as of right now it’s possible they could still make late fall according to Bleigh Construction

“When they pull into Hannibal, there’s gonna be the wow factor like wow, this is Hannibal, and wow this is the home of Mark Twain,” said Mississippi Marketplace owner Linda Studer.

Studer said she is looking forward to the completion of the riverfront project, hoping it brings a new face to Hannibal for tourists, her customers.

“You know I think they had hoped it would be done in September, and if you could control the Mississippi River maybe that would’ve happened,” said Studer on how the possibility of it getting delayed isn’t a surprise however.

Officials from Bleigh Construction said the wait is on for these flood gates to be removed so they can get back to work.

“Basically the job is at the mercy of the river,” said President of Bleigh Construction Tom Bleigh, adding that during the flooding they did complete mooring piles for docking ships, but that’s a small part of the project.

The mooring piles installed during the flood

“Really there’s only about 20% of the project complete at this time, and once we get back in there and actually clean up and move the equipment in then we’ll have to start hauling the rock in and doing the dredging, and we can’t do any dredging for the new harbor until the river hits 14 foot, which means it has to go down about 7 or 8 more feet for us to be able to do that,” said Bleigh.

Bleigh said it could be a month before they know how much the flooding could delay the project.

“Maybe very late fall. Could run over into next year, too,” said Bleigh, adding that since their trucks and equipment will mostly be on blacktop on the other side of the levee, they aren’t concerned about wet ground.

$6.6 million for this project were approved in city bonds last November, construction broke ground last December.

Frank Healy

Multimedia Journalist at WGEM

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