State offered $1 million for bridge; no one wanted it

It seemed like a great deal. Take a nearly 100-year-old bridge off the state's hands and get $1 million.

But no one took the deal.

The bridge was built in 1925, a 371-foot steel span that crossed the Puyallup River at Meridian for more than 90 years. Then in 2015, when two new bridges were built, the old bridge was moved. The Washington State Department of Transportation moved the 370 --ton bridge to a temporary home just off State Route 167.

WSDOT said the bridge was there for the taking, plus $1 million in cash, provided it was preserved.

No one wanted it.

"Most people did their due diligence and said, 'We can't do that for that amount of money,'" said WSDOT's Steve Fuchs.

Because the bridge is considered historic, the state was legally bound to try to save it. That's why it was willing to pay someone to take it, as long as they kept it in one piece. But even that has a time limit, which ran out in June.

Now, the bridge sits, unwanted, awaiting the scrap heap.

The DOT estimates cutting the structure apart for scrap will cost as much as a $1 million, but the steel is worth well under $100,000, depending on the scrap market.

So, Fuchs said, the bridge will stay right where it is. It will be a curiosity for drivers passing by until work begins on the SR 167 completion. Then, it becomes the contractor's problem.

“The design builder will become the proud owner of that bridge and do with it as they see fit,” said Fuchs.

Work on the section of SR 167, where the bridge sits behind a fence, is scheduled to begin in 2025.

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