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Bridge Marketing

“Should we save old bridges? Certainly most people appreciate the Brooklyn or the Golden Gate or the quaint stone arches and nostalgic covered wood spans. Yet equally important are the ubiquitous metal trusses and concrete arches that dot the countryside and cityscape by the thousands. Old bridges may represent past technologies, yet they provide a connection with that vanishing past by softening its collision with the future.
-Eric Delony, “The Value of Old Bridges” APT Bulletin, Vol. 35, no. 4, “Special Focus on Covered Bridges” (2004) pg: 3

Although some truss bridges are rehabilitated for modern vehicular use, many more historic bridges are replaced, bypassed or relocated for offline use. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has developed a bridge marketing program to encourage the relocation and reuse of historic bridges scheduled for replacement due to load and width limitations. Successful bridge marketing projects have relocated bridges to parks, college campuses and transferred ownership to local municipalities and non-governmental organizations.

Once PennDOT selects replacement as the preferred alternative, a Finding of Adverse Effect is documented. In consultation with the SHPO and consulting parties, PennDOT drafts a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) and includes a plan to market the historic truss bridge in advance of demolition. Once an organization expresses interest in assuming ownership of the bridge, the Federal Highway Administration and PennDOT may provide up to some portion, determined on a case by case basis, of the cost of demolition to facilitate moving and preservation of the bridge.

Who can purchase a historic bridge?

Historic truss bridges are available to any interested party that can demonstrate the ability to relocate and preserve the historic structure. PennDOT works in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of General Services (DGS) on state owned bridges to gather data on the bridge and develop sales tools. Preference is given to State agencies, municipalities, and non-profit organizations within in the surrounding area. If no local organization expresses interest to assume ownership of the historic bridge, the bridge is available to the public. The disposition process for locally owned bridges are dictated by local ordinances.

What is the process for purchasing a historic bridge?

  1. Submit a letter of interest.
  2. Agree to DGS’ terms and conditions.
  3. Conduct a feasibility study to access suitability of bridge in new location.
  4. Provide a formal offer to DGS to purchase the bridge.
  5. Sign the sales contract.

Contact Kara Russell at krussell@pa.gov for more information on PennDOT's bridge marketing program. Check the PennDOTCRM Bridge Marketing Page  for postings about available bridges.

Bridges for Sale

Visit PennDOT's Bridges for Sale webpage  to browse through the catalog of available bridges. Please contact Kara Russell at (717) 705-1484 or at krussell@state.pa.us for more information.