Bid of contractor Chester Bross Construction was accepted in November

The new year won’t be very old before work on Marion County’s next bridge project gets underway. Work on the Bear Creek Bridge on County Road 423 at Withers Mill could begin as soon as Monday, Jan. 15.

Teya Stice, the county’s capital coordinator, updated the county commissioners on the possible start date during their Jan. 8 meeting at the county courthouse in Palmyra.

Lyndon Bode, presiding commissioner, stressed that next week’s start date is still very tentative.

“If the weather cooperates they’re going to start on the 15th. It just all depends on the weather, he said. “We will have to see what happens.”

Before removal of the existing bridge can commence some site work must first occur.

“There’s a few trees that need to be taken out,” said Bode. “Our county crew is going to try to do that this week.”

The project’s contractor is Chester Bross Construction of Hannibal, whose bid of $421,996 was the lowest of three submitted to the county in mid November.

Preliminary plans were approved in November 2016 for a new single-span bridge at Withers Mill. The new structure will be 85 feet long.

The current bridge crosses Bear Creek at Withers Mill, which is just west of Hannibal. Built in 1950, the 65-foot long bridge has a deck width of 18 feet, 6 inches. It features a weight limit of 14 tons.

In 2015 the bridge’s condition was rated as poor following an inspection by Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) personnel. According to the state’s report, the exterior girders have holes and major deterioration, and are not supporting the deck. Its interior girders have heavy rust.

“While it looks good from the top, underneath is where the problems are occurring with the beams and various rusting,” said Bode in November. “It’s been on MoDOT’s list as one of the top two or three (in Marion County) to be replaced.

“We’re glad to get it replaced.”

Bode believes the new bridge will be an asset in that part of the county.

“With replacement of the bridge what I foresee is it connecting some of the outer roads. This is the road (County Road 423) that will feed into the (Highway) MM overpass so farm machinery can start using it. Now they have to bypass the bridge. When the bridge is completed combines will be able to cross over it because we’ll have a two-lane bridge,” he said.

Reach reporter Danny Henley at danny.henley@courierpost.com