Local business expresses concern for Hannibal expressway

Marion County Commissioners recently submitted a list of top transportation priorities to the state, which includes an expressway around Hannibal.

Commissioners cite many reasons to create an expressway around Hannibal.

They say safety is the main benefit.

But a Hannibal business says re-routing Highway 61 would hurt its bottom line.

"We're actually very concerned about it because if it does it's going to knock out quite a bit of business."

Sue McCormack is the bookkeeper for Hannibal Fast Stop on U.S. 61.

McCormack says the Fast Stop makes about $3 million a year.

"I would say it would knock us down around $100,000 a month," said McCormack.

She says around 40 percent of their business stems off of travelers from Highway 61.

"Well still get the regulars, we'll still get the local GM and the plants and everything else,” said McCormack. “However, it's the hotels and the tourists that we actually want."

MoDOT District Engineer Paula Gough says at this point the state is focusing on taking care of existing systems and long-range plans.

At this time, there is no funding for the new expressway.

"If this were to move forward in the planning process from need to an actual project there is a significant amount of updating that would need to be done, reviewing the environmental documents, significant public involvement, so all of those steps will then need to be taken,” said Gough.

Lyndon Bode who serves as Marion County Presiding Commissioner says their board has weighed in concerns for local businesses.

"Our desire as a county commission would be to work with them as well as the city of Hannibal and also MoDOT and do the best we can when it comes about it,” said Bode. “Ultimately it will be a MoDOT decision where the road goes, but if we could get it closer to Hannibal rather than far out, that would be a great deal."

The priority list which includes the proposed expressway will be turned in to Mark Twain Regional Council of Governments March 16th.

Follow this link to view the full list.

MoDOT Engineer Paula Gough says the last study surrounding a bypass project happened close to 20 years ago.

She says a new study for the best location will be conducted if the state approves this project.

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