Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is trying to sell a historic, 80-year-old steel-truss bridge.
The Meridian Street Bridge, also known as the Puyallup River Bridge, brought State Route 167 over the Puyallup River until 2015. It was record-breaking for its time: The longest riveted-steel bridge of its kind built before 1940 at 371 feet. And according to WSDOT, its engineering was likely unique.
It uses a Warren-truss design, the zig-zag plan commonly seen in steel bridges. WSDOT notes that while it’s similar to a specific design patented in the 1920s, the beams across the top on either side are parabolic, which they say allowed for a longer bridge length. A normal Warren bridge would look trapezoidal, while this bridge is a little more like an arch.
The bridge’s designer, Maury M. Caldwell, also designed the Pasco-Kennewick bridge, which was decommissioned in 1978 and demolished in 1990.
The history and design make the bridge eligible for historic status, according to WSDOT, and whoever buys the bridge would have to agree to maintain the bridge and the historically significant features.
Bridge nerds can learn more in a mini-documentary produced by WSDOT last year.
The price is negotiable: “bridge is available for donation to a governmental or responsible private entity.”
We emailed WSDOT for clarification on this—does this mean the bridge is free?
As it turns out, yes, if the candidate is capable. “WSDOT is making the bridge available to any party capable of maintaining its historic significance and assuming all legal and financial responsibility for it,” said spokesperson Shari King. “WSDOT will offer up to $1 million to the successful candidate who assumes ownership and responsibility for the bridge.”
The bridge will be up for sale until June of 2019. If a buyer or preservation funding isn’t found by then, WSDOT will demolish the bridge.