HAMMOND | State highway officials have a bridge they'd like to sell you.
The historic Indianapolis Boulevard Nine-Span Bridge over the Gibson rail yard was placed for sale Tuesday by the Indiana Department of Transportation.
Built in 1935 and stretching 1,781 feet across the busy CSX and Indiana Harbor Belt lines, the steel bridge is slated for replacement in the future, but highway officials want to help interested persons preserve at least some of the Depression-era landmark.
"You never know who might be interested in something like this," said Jim Pinkerton, of the INDOT LaPorte office.
In collaboration with the Federal Highway Administration, INDOT is offering 45 outmoded bridges statewide for acquisition by preservationists.
And public or private groups that take possession of the structures can get reimbursement of up to 80 percent of the costs of disassembly, storage, site preparation and reassembly – if they promise to maintain the structure for at least 25 years and keep it open to the public.
The program is part of the mitigation process when the state begins to plan replacement of an old bridge, Pinkerton said, "a way to preserve a piece of history."
Some of the bridge's 40-foot-wide spans could be reused for two-lane county highways, or for multi-use trail projects, according to INDOT's Office of Environmental Services.
Lake County already is participating in the state bridge program with the preservation of the 110-year-old State Line Road bridge over the Kankakee River. The 90-year-old Clay Street bridge over the Kankakee also is available from the state.
Proposals for relocation and rehabilitation of the Nine-Span Bridge will be accepted through Dec. 21, though replacement work is not scheduled to begin until 2014 at the earliest.
For more information about the Historic Bridge Marketing Program, visit: www.in.gov/indot/2967.htm.