Psst! Hey, buddy, want a bridge? A bit old and on the narrow side, but sound. And it’s free.
That’s right. Kentucky transportation officials are so determined to preserve a historic, but obsolete, bridge over the Kentucky River that they are offering to dismantle and move the 456-foot span to a new owner.
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet
|Want it? It’s yours … if you can rebuild and maintain it.|
The catch: Unlike a pair of Pennsylvania brothers, accused of recently stealing a 40-ton steel bridge to sell the scrap, the new proprietor of the Kentucky bridge must rebuild and maintain the structure.
The bridge, in Perry County in the state’s southeastern corner, will be available after its replacement is completed next year, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader.
State highway department spokesman H.B. Elkins told the newspaper that the state would pay for marking the bridge, disassembling it and transporting it to a new site.
The new owner would shoulder “all other costs, including reassembling and maintaining the bridge,” the newspaper reported.
One other condition, Elkins said: The state will not spend more to save the bridge than to demolish it, and that cost is not yet known.
Bridge owner hopefuls must apply by Dec. 20.
The bridge is “functionally obsolete, meaning it’s narrow and the trusses have low clearance,” Elkins told Reuters news service. “But it’s structurally sound. People use it every day.”
The three-span bridge is in good condition and even eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, but it is too narrow for state specifications. Officials said it would make a good entrance to a walking trail or may be useful on private property.
The state tried once before to give away an historic bridge but, despite a flurry of initial interest, there were no takers in the end, Elkins told Reuters.
“So we built the new bridge next to the old one, documented the old one with photographs, and then demolished it,” he said.