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Corey Mehaffy, executive director of the Hannibal Regional Economic Development Council announced recently the Missouri Department of Transportation has added the Hannibal Expressway Engineering Study to the scoping portion of their Statewide Transportation Improvement Program and will be hiring a consultant.
Addressing congestion on U.S. 61 through Hannibal has been a need for the region for several years, and the study for the Hannibal Expressway has been identified as a needed step in guiding the region’s transportation planning.
Recent increases in infrastructure funding have allowed MoDOT to begin seeking a consultant to start the Hannibal Expressway study.
At a recent meeting of the HREDC Transportation Committee, MoDOT officials shared with the group they hope to have the consultant on board this spring, with the study starting soon after that.
The study will include public involvement, alternatives for the expressway alignment, and an environmental assessment for the project.
Mehaffy indicated the total planning phase to complete the environmental assessment study process is 24 to 36 months from the time a consultant is selected and a contract is signed.
Mehaffy said his office submitted an application for the 2021 Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity planning grant.
The application received significant support with over 40 letters of support from the Tri-State area. However, that federal funding option did not come to fruition.
“In addition to the local support, the Hannibal Expressway was one of the original ten transportation projects identified by Tom Boland and Tom Oakley and advocated for through the Tri-State Development Summit,” Mehaffy said. “The Tri-State Development Summit, over time, has had a transportation priority of assisting and advocating for the completion of 1,677 miles of four-lane highways, and has now completed 1,297 miles of that goal.”
The Hannibal Expressway has been long envisioned, with the original engineering study completed by MoDOT back in 1996.
The project has long been one of the Tri-State Development Summit’s major goals but has remained unfunded for these many years.
State Representative Louis Riggs has been an advocate for the Hannibal Expressway for many years.
“The Hannibal Expressway is a project of regional importance, and the argument could be made that it is one of state and federal importance as it relates to highway safety and economic development,” Riggs said. “There are many communities, businesses and organizations in favor of this bypass in our region.”
Mehaffy indicated the Hannibal Expressway is just one of the many projects the HREDC Transportation Committee has been working on over the last three years.
“It is great to see the study move forward, and we are grateful to Rep. Riggs for his advocacy on this important transportation project,” Mehaffy said. “I would also like to thank MODOT for their willingness to move forward with the study.”
Mehaffy indicated the HREDC Transportation Committee is working to identify federal, state and local level funding options for the Hannibal Expressway construction project.
“The committee would like to be in a position to move forward with construction when the study is complete and the construction funding becomes available,” Mehaffy said.
HREDC works to promote financial investment in Hannibal, and Marion and Ralls Counties.
For more information on the organization, please visit their website at www.hredc.com.