The Hannibal city council Tuesday night voted in favor of sending a letter of approval for a study of a possible Hannibal bypass.

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On a 5 to 1 vote, the council gave Mayor James Hark permission to send a letter of approval to state officials to study the possibility of a four-lane highway that would take Highway 61 around Hannibal.

Councilman Stephen Franke was the lone no vote. He said he can't find evidence of a safety issue on Highway 61. "But additionally, I'm not convinced that (the bypass) will spur economic development," Franke said, "Hannibal's population does not support what we're told will come when the highway bypass is eventually created."

Those in favor of the bypass cite safety concerns, those against say businesses will suffer if traffic is diverted from McMasters Avenue.

One of those who had been urging the council to agree to the approval letter was Missouri Fifth District State Representative Louis Riggs. "It's a great day for folks in Northeast Missouri," Riggs said. "It's a great day for folks in Hannibal, in terms of the safety considerations alone, 4,200 trucks going up and down the road every single day."

Riggs also said that, with the passing of the state gas tax, and several letters like this sent, the bypass could become part of the state's transportation plan.

The Ralls County Commission and Hannibal Regional Healthcare System have previously expressed approval for the engineering study.

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