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80-Year-Old Bridge Free to Good Home

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

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Attention history buffs, bridge geeks, or anyone with land to spare and access to a construction crew: the Illinois Department of Transportation has a deal for you. Well, sort of.

Illinois transportation officials have a "free" bridge up for grabs, if the right conditions are met.  

The structure being offered is the Savanna-Sabula Bridge, a steel truss bridge that crosses the Mississippi River, connecting Savanna, IL, and the island city of Sabula, IA.

Flickr / Chicago Rail Head

The 80-year-old, two-lane Savanna-Sabula Bridge is being offered for free, as long as certain conditions are met, the Illinois DOT said. The agency says the bridge is "functionally obsolete."

Opened in 1932, the 2,482-foot-long, 20-foot-wide bridge carries two lanes of traffic on U.S. Highway 52.

The Illinois DOT now calls the bridge "functionally obsolete." A replacement bridge will be built 100 feet south of the existing bridge, and construction is expected to start in 2015 and cost upwards of $70 million.

The Offer and Conditions

Since the Savanna-Sabula Bridge is on the National Register of Historic Places, federal regulations require the Illinois DOT to offer the bridge to the public for free before it can consider demolition.

However, those interested in only salvaging the steel need not apply. Whoever takes the bridge must promise to preserve it as a historical site at another location and be prepared to maintain it.

The offer is open to "any qualifying governmental or nonprofit agency," according to Mark Nardini, an acting environmental studies manager with the DOT.

Iowa DOT

State transportation officials are willing to pay the cost of demolition, or $1.2 million, to anyone who can disassemble the bridge and move it to an approved location, where it can be kept "in its historical significance in perpetuity."

Once the new bridge opens, the old one will have to be removed within 30 days, including old piers to make way for a wider river channel. Whoever takes the bridge will have to disassemble, move, and reassemble the entire structure.

The state is offering up to $1.2 million, the price that demolition would cost, to pay for it to be moved, but the agency must also approve the plan.

The bridge must be kept "in its historical significance in perpetuity" at a DOT-approved location, said Nardini.

"We don't expect a lot of takers," Nardini said. "In the past 22 years that I've worked here, we've never offered anything this size."


Tagged categories: Bridges; Construction; Department of Transportation (DOT); Rehabilitation/Repair

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (2/26/2013, 8:41 AM)

Giving away small steel bridges when they are replaced is fairly common. The city of Hamilton, TX has a nice little collection in their city park.

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