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Hannibal riverfront improvements still threatened by high river

Construction on the Hannibal riverfront is back in action for the time being, but crews said that could change if the river doesn’t cooperate.

Trucks are bringing in tons of shot rock that’s being used to lay the foundation for the next part of the project, and while the project is already weeks behind schedule, they could face even more delays if the water doesn’t keep falling.

“We understand there’s going to be a cleanup period, there’s also going to be a change in what you can approach, what you can fix now, what you’re priorities are are going to change,” said Kenneth Marks, who owns the Hannibal History Museum and organizes events in Hannibal.

Marks said during the flooding, delays to the riverfront were on his mind, as it made planning events that use the space hard. He said despite the lack of a clear timeline now, he’s still optimistic about the project.

“I’m still excited about it, I think I’m just impatient like most of us,” said Marks.

Even though crews are back to work on the riverfront, they said the timeline of the project still highly depends on where the river sits.

“The water level is still a little high, higher than we would like to see it […] there’s some piling that we need to pull up north and the water does effect that, it has some tide backs that are below water that are hard to see,” said On-Site Supervisor Shawn Deering.

Deering said things like storm drain extensions and bringing in dirt will have to wait for when the water is down. For now, they have a few weeks worth of work they can do with things they way they are, but the work won’t be done by late fall, like originally planned.

“So we’re trying to do the fill that we can do, hopfully the water will drop a bit more and open up more of the project so we can continue working on,” said Deering.

For Marks, he’s just glad they’re back to work.

“It’s going to be far better than what we had before, it’s going to be integrated, it’s going to be good not just for visitors but for the people living here to be able to enjoy the riverfront,” said Marks.

On Wednesday, the river sits at 14.6 in Hannibal, right above the action stage. Deering said the river needs to be at around 11 for the other work to proceed.

The $6.6 million dollar project is being worked on by Bleigh Construction, officials with the company said since the flooding it’s hard to say when the work will be done, they said the materials are under contract so it won’t cost the city additional funds.

And as of right now, there’s no new timeline on when the project will be complete.

Frank Healy

Multimedia Journalist at WGEM

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