The Government Has a Bridge to Sell You…….or Give You

If you're looking for a bridge, Iowa has one for you. It’s a 128-foot bowstring-shaped Warren pony truss from 1912. If that’s not your style, you can get a 183-foot trapezoid Pratt through-truss from 1892. Over in Oklahoma, you can find a camelback truss outside of Tulsa. Chances are, your state's Department of Transportation has a few historic bridges it would be happy to turn over to you, provided you take good care of them. In many cases, the bridges are free. You may have to pay for the move, but there just might be grant money available for that. When replacing a bridge, transportation agencies often tear down the old one. If, however, the bridge is either listed or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, federal law requires that they first make an effort to preserve it. To comply, agencies often post their soon-to-be-replaced bridges online, hoping to entice someone to adopt them. In some cases, these bridges retire to trail networks or golf courses where they spend their golden years hosting pedestrians, cyclists and golf carts. Sometimes, they become the prized possession of a small but devoted band of bridge collectors, who give them pride of place on their property. Moving bridges isn’t a new sport. In 1968, an American businessman bought London Bridge, broke it into granite blocks, and shipped them through the Panama Canal to Lake Havasu City, Ariz., where the reconstructed bridge has become a tourist attraction. For the true bridge lover, look no further than the Calcasieu River Bridge in Lake Charles, La. The bridge is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, which means Louisiana has to first look for somebody to adopt it. If you’re interested, call the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. Just make sure you have enough room. The bridge measures 68½ feet by 6,607 feet — long enough to land a Boeing 737.