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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

MODOT Needs to Unload Two Historic Bridges; Do You Want One?

Posted By on Tue, Mar 25, 2014 at 8:00 AM

click to enlarge The Platte Purchase Bridge could be yours. - MODOT ON FLICKR

If you're a little wary of the news that the Missouri Department of Transportation has two historic bridges up for sale, we understand.

George Parker, one of America's most brazen con men, made his living selling New York landmarks, especially the Brooklyn Bridge, before earning a life sentence in 1928 to Sing Sing for his entrepreneurship. He's the reason we tell gullible people, "And if you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you."

But MODOT really does have a bridge to sell you. Two bridges, actually: the Platte Purchase Bridge and the Fairfax Bridge, both stretching over the Missouri River in Platte County.

See also: From the Eads Bridge to the Stan Span: 140 Years of St. Louis Bridges

Not only are the bridges free, but anyone who pledges to reuse them can be reimbursed up to 80 percent of what the state would have used to demolish them.

"Now that's a lawn ornament that will get the neighbors talking," MODOT says on Monday's Facebook post advertising the unique real estate deal.

Legally, MODOT has to make these bridges available to the public before it can demolish them for a new project. The new owner would have to submit a detailed application outlining the bridge's new location, the route for relocating the bridge and a cost and time estimate for its rehabilitation.

Both bridges are eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, and the new owners will be responsible for following any rules about maintaining historic features.

The Fairfax Bridge, built in 1933-35, is 2,595 feet long, 20 feet wide and can carry up to 35 tons, according to MODOT. The Platte Purchase Bridge, built in 1957, measures 2,602 feet long and boasts a symmetrical design using five Warren trusses ranging from 302 to 474 feet each.

If you want a bridge, apply by May 23.

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.

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