‘Free Bridges!’ MoDOT says historic bridges are up for grabs in Missouri

Picture of Thayer Viaduct bridge

Photo from the Missouri Department of Transportation.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Looking for something to spruce up the home? Maybe a new piece of artwork for the lawn?

Look no further. Try a bridge. The Missouri Department of Transportation says they’re giving away several of them for free.

According to a page on the MoDOT website titled, “Free Bridges!” MoDOT and its local transportation partners are seeking proposals to reuse bridges that could be demolished or replaced. That’s because the bridges advertised on the website are listed on, or eligible for listing on, the National Register of Historic Places.

Putting historic bridges up for grabs is actually a federal law (subsection “g,” if you’re curious) written by the House of Representatives.

“Any State that proposes to demolish a historic bridge for a replacement project with funds made available to carry out this section shall first make the historic bridge available for donation to a State, locality, or responsible private entity,” the law reads.

Wondering how you’re going to get the bridge out of the river and on to your property? Don’t sweat it. Up to 80 percent of the cost it would take to demolish the bridge is actually eligible to go toward moving it to its new home.

However, there are a couple catches. For one, the federal law states that whoever takes a bridge must be able to maintain the bridge and all of the features that give it “historic significance.” The new owner must also take on all legal and financial responsibility, which includes liability.

In short, you can have a free bridge if you really want one. But, if the neighbors call the cops when you bring the historic item to your patio, you’re on your own.

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