Georgia is home to nearly 15,000 bridges that cars, trucks, and buses use every day. Over time, these bridges must be replaced to ensure that the state’s infrastructure remains in good condition. Some of these bridges are historic, and under USC Section 144(g), they must be made available for donation to a responsible state, locality, or private entity. In order to streamline the advertising process, the Georgia Department of Transportation’s Environmental Services Bureau (Georgia DOT) is introducing a online forum inform interested parties of available decks for donation.
“The goal of Georgia DOT’s bridge commercialization program is to preserve its historically significant bridges that no longer meet vehicular safety requirements,” said Jim Pomfret, Georgia DOT’s deputy environmental administrator. “We created the website to modernize the legal requirement to advertise these bridges compared to previous methods. It also makes it easy for interested parties to research and find bridges in their areas that might be suitable for adoption.
A bridge is eligible for adoption if it is over 50 years old, determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, and is proposed for replacement by the Georgia DOT. Entities seeking to adopt a historic bridge are responsible for all future legal and financial aspects of the bridge, including the maintenance and preservation of features that make it historic. Some historic bridges, such as concrete bridges, are not suitable for adoption because they cannot be easily moved without damage.
Once adopted, a bridge must be made accessible to the public at a new location and for a new purpose, such as being part of a footpath in a public park, but it cannot be reused on a public road for vehicular purposes. Owners can store the bridge in a storage facility to raise funds for relocation to a new site.
Georgia DOT advertises historic bridges available for donation throughout the year. Bridges are advertised for 30 days.
To find more information about adopting a bridge, look at currently available bridges or read the laws and regulations around historic bridges, visit the Historic Bridge Marketing website.