WSDOT wants to give you a bridge and a million bucks
You know what would look good next to that new water feature in the backyard? A 371-foot-long historic steel truss bridge.
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The state is finally ready to unload the 93-year-old Meridian Street Bridge in Puyallup. It has been sitting along Highway 167 for nearly three years, since it was removed in one piece and placed on state land just north of the river. The plan was for King or Pierce counties to take the bridge, restore it, and re-use it in some way. It would make a decent walking bridge for a trail or an attraction in a park.
But the counties didn’t want it, and now the Washington State Department of Transportation has to make it available to the public. The state is willing to pay you to take it.
Starting Thursday, June 21, you can submit proposals to take the 370-ton bridge off the state’s hands.
“Because of its historic nature, we are moving forward with trying to find an owner that would take ownership of it and preserve it for the future,” said Steve Fuchs, project manager for the 167 expansion project.
Getting rid of the bridge falls under his jurisdiction because it sits in the right-of-way for this project.
“We’re actually offering-up the cost of demolition to the new owner, which is up to a maximum of $1 million,” Fuchs said.
When Fuchs speaks of demolition, he is talking about taking the bridge apart and then putting it back together. You can’t just sell the steel for scrap.
“Either moving the bridge intact, which is not an easy thing to do, or disassembling the bridge and moving it to a new location and reassembling it,” he said.
Bidders will get more points if they plan to keep the bridge intact or if they plan to keep it for a longer period of time. Fuchs hopes someone from the Puyallup area will get it.
“In a perfect world, because of the context, it would reside right there in the Puyallup River valley and be in a place where the public would have access to it,” he said.
If you’re wondering why the state is paying someone to take this bridge instead of selling it, that comes down to federal regulations. Because this is a historic bridge, the state has to follow specific guidelines, and that includes paying for someone to preserve it.