The Washington State Dept. of Transportation plans to retire the Newaukum River Bridge after 86 years of service, but the government agency remains open to handing over the historic bridge to someone interested in coming and getting it.
The existing State Route 508 bridge near Onalaksa, Washington, south of Olympia, is one of 13 pony truss bridges over 50 years old remaining on public roadways or recreation trails in Washington state. The 90-ft steel Warren pony truss design becomes available for reuse since the bridge is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
To lighten the load on the bridge, in January 2015 maintenance crews added a single-lane Bailey bridge to help keep traffic moving through the area. Posted load limit signs weren’t deterring large trucks from crossing the bridge.
Work on a new bridge starts next summer—the project goes to bid in spring—and should wrap up in spring 2018.
But to make way for construction of the new $8.2 million bridge, WSDOT needs to move the old bridge out of the way. The new owner becomes responsible for removing and relocating the bridge as-is, protecting the environment during the move and reusing the trusses in a way that preserves historic relevance. The new owner also assumes all future legal and financial responsibility for the structure.
The department sits in a tough sell, though, as the bridge built in 1930 was deemed structurally deficient and functionally obsolete. And rust and corrosion have caught up to the steel.
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