PALMYRA, Mo. -- The Marion County Commission on Monday signed a "notice to proceed" authorizing construction to begin by Aug. 5 on a new bridge over the North Fabius River near Taylor.
Bleigh Construction was awarded the $884,083 contract in June to build the bridge. The company has 90 working days from Aug. 5 to complete the project. That means the bridge should be finished by the end of December, barring any weather-related delays.
The existing bridge on County Road 313 was shut down in November 2017 after an inspection by the Missouri Department of Transportation showed severe rust and deterioration had occurred throughout the structure, built in 1929. The inspector said the bridge could no longer safely hold the weight of a car and urged that it be taken out of service immediately.
Commissioners sought to push ahead quickly with bridge-replacement plans because the bridge was used frequently by farmers who considered it a safe route for moving heavy farm equipment and machinery without having to venture onto busy U.S. Routes 61 and 24.
In another bridge-related development, the commission approved a $75,450 contract with Poepping Stone Bach and Associates to design and inspect a new bridge crossing South River along Marion County Road 402 east of Palmyra.
A MoDOT inspection earlier this year uncovered some worrisome structural problems with the 89-year-old bridge. MoDOT then ordered the county to reduce the bridge's weight limit from 13 tons to 5 tons, which prevents large vehicles, such as school buses, from crossing the bridge.
Teya Stice, the county's land-use and capital-improvements coordinator, said the contract with PSBA calls for paying the company $49,750 to design the new bridge and $25,700 to perform inspection services during construction.
The new bridge is slated to be built by July 2021, with the start of construction depending on when funding becomes available.
"If the funds are available before then, then it will be before that," Skip Wilson of PSBA told commissioners.
The commission also learned Monday that the county has received $83,442 in reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for a little-used bridge that washed out in June 2015.
The county, however, did not replace the 106-year-old bridge on County Road 117. Instead, the commission pushed ahead with plans to use the FEMA reimbursement money to help pay for a new Wenneker Bridge on County Road 104 near Nelsonville. The Wenneker Bridge was finished in late 2017 using county funds, and only now has the county received the reimbursement money it was promised.
In other action Monday, the commission signed a letter to the U.S. Census Bureau pledging to work in partnership with the agency to try to get the best count possible in Marion County when the national census is conducted in 2020.
The commission plans to appoint a "complete count committee" of local volunteers who will educate, engage and encourage the county's citizens to participate in the census. The committee also will try to identify any hard-to-count local populations, such as the homeless.