PALMYRA, Mo. -- A new Withers Mill bridge is now carrying traffic over Bear Creek along County Road 423 west of Hannibal.
Marion County Presiding Commissioner Lyndon Bode said the bridge was opened to local traffic about three weeks ago. Last week, the remaining barricades were taken down after the bridge passed its final inspection.
The bridge is now open to all traffic and will be the focus of a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. July 30.
"We're glad to have it open," Bode said in an interview.
He said the new bridge replaces a circa-1940 bridge that was dangerously narrow and had a 14-ton load limit.
"Instead of a narrow bridge, we've now got a bridge that's wide enough for two lanes of traffic, and combines can cross it," Bode said.
He believes the new, wider bridge will be a safety improvement for area farmers.
"Instead of having to get out on Highway 36, they can use the county roads, and this opens up County Road 423 where any type of farm machinery can go across the bridge now," Bode said. "School buses, too, and things like that can safely cross the bridge and not have to get out on the highway."
The bridge was built by Chester Bross Construction of Hannibal, which was awarded a $421,996 contract.
While the bridge itself is finished, one other issue still to be completed involves plans to rebury a relocated water line that was broken during the bridge's construction. The line was inadvertently ruptured with a trackhoe in January by an employee with Chester Bross Construction.
Bode said that after the Ralls County Water District voluntarily relocated the line in 2016 to move it farther from the construction site, the new 6-inch line "floated up" and was nicked by the contractor's digging equipment.
"It needs to be buried deeper, so that still has to be done," Bode said.
Also at its weekly meeting Monday, the Marion County Commission heard a midyear status report on the county's $14.28 million budget for fiscal 2018, which began Jan. 1.
County Clerk Valerie Dornberger told commissioners that general revenue fund spending was running at a 50 percent clip June 30, which is right on schedule, while the county has already collected 62 percent of its budgeted revenue.
"We're in really good shape," Dornberger said.?She said the general revenue fund had a balance of $1.182 million on June 30 and the emergency fund had a balance of $1.303 million.
"We're sitting pretty good," she said.