New MO 168 bridge near Palmyra reopened Friday - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

New MO 168 bridge near Palmyra reopened Friday

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PALMYRA, Mo. (WGEM) -

A budget crunch could limit the number of new bridges in Missouri, but the newest one reopened in Marion County Friday. 

The North River Bridge on highway 168 just west of Palmyra re-opened after a seven month, $1.5 million replacement project.

Neighbors like Esther Hirner are excited to start driving over it again.

"It is much closer to things we do because we go in at that end of town instead of the north end and it's pretty straight," said Hirner.  

But MoDot Area Engineer Brian Haeffner said replacement projects like this one are going to be few and far between in the future because of the budget crisis Missouri is faced with.

"We're getting to the point now where maintaining our existing system is a primary focus. We don't have additional funds to be able to do things like build new highways, to add lanes to highways and that sort of thing," said Haeffner. 

Haeffner said they typically complete about 5 to 10 rehab or repair bridge projects in the northeast district each year.

Haeffner said the North River bridge more than due for replacement.

"Just based on the condition of the old bridge. It had been here for a long time and it met it's life span and it was time to replace it," said Haeffner.   

The project is part of MoDot's five year Safe and Sound Bridges project that will be completed by the end of 2013.

MoDot officials said they can't afford to repair all of the bridges in the district, so they have to choose the highest priority projects.

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