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      Facelift planned for Mark Twain Avenue

      Planned improvements to Mark Twain Avenue in Hannibal.

      MoDOT got an unexpected surprise as it prepared plans to make improvements to Mark Twain Avenue.

      As part of MoDOT's plan to upgrade Mark Twain Avenue, the agency is responsible for making the sidewalks along the roadway compliant with Americans With Disabilities standards.

      MoDOT area engineer Brian Haeffner says that as MoDOT prepared for the upgrade those plans hit a snag.

      "As we went through the process originally we thought that the sidewalks on both sides belonged to MoDOT," Haeffner said. "However as we went through the process our surveyors found that we actually don't own all of the right-of-way for Mark Twain Avenue. So really if you look at Mark Twain Avenue about half on the southside belongs to MoDOT, the other half belongs to the city."

      The city and MoDOT are still discussing how to solve that problem.

      Once it is solved, the project will include some major upgrades including a new overlay of the road to fix chipped and broken parts of the street.

      Five lanes of traffic will be cut down to three creating extra space for expanded sidewalks on the south side of the road. New bike lanes will also be added.

      Hannibal BPW General Manager Robert Stevenson says that his agency is also involved in the planning because of concerns over sewer lines.

      "Right now those lines are under paved lanes," Stevenson said. "But it's possible that when they are finished with that road that they won't be. That they'll be under a green space. But if they stay under paved lanes we need to take a serious look to see if we need to replace those pipes before the street gets rebuilt."

      MoDOT's plan also calls for decorative lighting similar to those in downtown Hannibal.

      Hannibal BPW would be responsible for installing those along the "new" Mark Twain Avenue as well.

      Construction on the new Mark Twain Avenue will not start until 2015.