Friday, November 18, 2016

In the market for a historic bridge? We have a deal for you!

By Tamara Greenwell

Update for Aug. 2, 2017: Good news! We may have found a new owner for the SR 508 Newaukum River Bridge. We received interest from several folks and organizations and ended up with one person who understands what it’ll take to own the structure. We’re now working together on agreements and how the bridge will be used to preserve its historic nature. The individual plans to keep the bridge in the Evergreen State.

Nov. 18, 2016
Looking for a memorable gift for that special someone who's hard to shop for? How about the State Route 508 South Fork Newaukum River Bridge? Located near Onalaska in Lewis County, it would make the perfect present for someone who has always wanted their own bridge, but didn’t know quite where to start.

SR 508 South Fork Newaukum River Bridge

Sure, at a rusty 86 years old, the bridge is past its prime, but we like to think it’s full of character and charm. Also, because it is eligible for historic listing, the National Historic Preservation Act requires we market the bridge to find it a new home. So, what do you think? Does this sound like the right fit for you?

The historic bridge plaque will be archived at the Lewis County Historical Museum

Why recycle the bridge?
During the first half of the 20th century, pony truss bridges like the Newaukum River Bridge were often used to span short distances. As concrete girder bridges gained in popularity, pony trusses have become relatively rare. The Newaukum River Bridge is one of only 13 pony truss bridges over 50 years old remaining on public roadways or recreation trails in Washington.

Severe corrosion on the 86 -year-old steel bridge
Rust has eaten through portions of the bridge.
But time has finally caught up to the aging structure. Rust has completely eaten through portions of the bridge. Following a January 2015 safety inspection, we closed the bridge because it could no-longer support heavy loads.
WSDOT maintenance crews built a temporary single-lane Bailey bridge across the aging Newaukum River Bridge.
About a week later, we assembled and installed a temporary Bailey bridge over the existing structure and reopened the road to serve the 1,400 drivers that use the route each day. Without the temporary bridge, drivers would be forced to take a detour, adding time to their travel.
SR 508 South Fork Newaukum River Bridge, built in 1930.
So, since the old bridge can no longer hold the weight of modern day traffic, what might be a good fit for it? We’re hoping someone can repurpose it at a golf course, on a hiking trail or even see its beauty as garden art. If you are looking for a unique way to preserve Washington’s history, relocating and restoring this historic bridge is for you!

What you get
You’ll get two as-is riveted-steel 90-foot Warren pony trusses with verticals. They’re comprised of fabricated steel shapes, including channels, angles and plates. Sorry, the bridge deck and substructure aren’t included.

What’s the catch?
Recycling this historic gem is no easy task. Moving and repurposing old bridges is expensive. Costs related to removing and relocating the trusses are up to you.
  • You’ll need to have a structural engineer assess the trusses to make sure they’ll work for your project
  • Safely move the trusses 
  • Protect the environment during the move 
  • Reuse the trusses in a way that preserves historic character
  • Assume all future legal and financial responsibility for the structure

If no one wants the old bridge, it’ll be demolished, but we don’t want that! We know there’s a home out there just waiting to welcome the structure into their family.

Either way, the old bridge will be replaced with a new permanent structure made with concrete girders that’ll hold up better to the weight of heavy traffic, flooding and earthquakes. The new bridge is scheduled to open in 2018.

So are you sold? Great! Contact us for more information.


Steve Lindsey said...

Seems savable. A quirky looking thing that would good as a trails bridge or for a golf course...

None said...

How heavy is it?

Tamara Greenwell said...

Each truss weights approximately 23,000 pounds.

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