NEW LONDON, Mo. | Work is underway on the first of two bridges on Malaruni Road, and residents and county commissioners alike are eager to see the results of the projects.
Ralls County Eastern District Commissioner R.C. Harlow said the project was made possible through a program with more than $620,000 in federal money. The bridges are 1/4-mile apart, and several residents in the area have carefully hauled farm equipment along the narrow structures. Harlow said the replacements will have much higher weight limits and wider construction. The old bridges were close to 100 years old, and sometimes posed a danger in wintry conditions.
Harlow said the new bridges will be “a great benefit,” noting area farmers, students on school buses and other area residents will benefit from the safer and more efficient travel when the project is complete in about two to three months, depending on weather conditions.
“Anytime you can do a project that's going to last for generations for come, it's a good thing to get done,” Harlow said.
Bob Lehenbauer farms the Mississippi River bottoms, and he regularly needs to take large equipment, like combines, across one bridge to the north or the other to the south. Regardless of which way he travels, the results were the same — he had to fold up or remove the heads of his combine. After passing the bridge, he reassembled the equipment. He looks forward to the new bridges, and he said he's not alone.
“They're just extremely narrow, they're old, and it's going to be a great advantage to this whole community down here,” Lehenbauer said. “I'm not the only farmer down here. Steve Willing farms, and he has to move his machinery up and down the road just the same as we do.”
Lehenbauer commended the Ralls County Road and Bridge judges and the County Commissioners for their efforts to replace the bridges.
“We are so appreciative of the Ralls County Commissioners for doing this for us,” Lehenbauer said. “We've been waiting a long time, but we'll have some good bridges when they're done.”