By David DeKok
HARRISBURG Pa. (Reuters) – Buying a bridge is not on most to-do lists, but anyone seeking a historic span need look no further than the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, which has 11 of them for sale.
PennDOT is trying to save bridges on the National Register of Historic Places that are not up to the demands of modern traffic. Prices range from $1 to $500, and moving costs can often be paid by the Federal Highway Administration.
The catch is that the buyer must reuse the bridge somewhere else and is responsible for all associated costs.
“They can’t be sold for scrap,” Erin Waters-Trasatt, a PennDOT spokeswoman, said on Monday. “They need to be rehabilitated and preserved.”
One of the bridges for sale is the 111-year-old Pond Eddy Bridge over the Delaware River between Shohola Township, Pennsylvania, and Pond Eddy, New York. Built in 1903, the metal truss bridge is 252 feet long and 16 feet wide.
Another is the 115-year-old Craighead Bridge in South Middleton Township, Pennsylvania. Kayakers see the bottom of that bridge as they glide by on the scenic Yellow Breeches Creek.
“It’s covered with lead paint,” said Brian O’Neill, the township engineer. “It would be cost prohibitive for us to take it over.”
In addition to the 11 bridges for sale, PennDOT has already sold nine spans, including the Meadowview Road Bridge in Dover Township, Pennsylvania. That bridge was sold to the township, which installed it in a new park for about $20,000 – the price for constructing concrete abutments. A new bridge would have cost at least twice that amount, township Manager Laurel Oswalt said.
Another purchaser was Art Suckewer, founder and chief executive of Knite, Inc, a technology company in Princeton, New Jersey, who bought two bridges to provide an “elegant solution” to getting around his 30-acre farm, he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Any bridges that fail to sell will be demolished to make way for new spans, Waters-Trasatt said.
(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Peter Cooney)