November 28, 2022
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The Office on Environmental Services within the Georgia Department of Transportation recently unveiled what it calls a “web-based forum” to notify interested parties of bridges available for donation.

[Above photo via Wikipedia Commons]

Georgia is home to almost 15,000 bridges and replacing those bridges over time helps ensure the state’s infrastructure remains in a state of good repair. Some of these bridges are historic and, in compliance with federal law, the agency makes them made available for donation to a state, locality, or responsible private entity.

“The goal of Georgia DOT’s bridge marketing program is to preserve its historically significant bridges that no longer meet the safety requirements for vehicular traffic,” said Jim Pomfret, Georgia DOT’s assistant environmental administrator, in a statement.

“We created the website to modernize the legal requirement of advertising for these bridges compared to previous methods,” he said. “It also makes it easy for interested parties to research and find the bridges in their areas that may be suitable for adoption.”

[Editor’s note: In December 2020, the publications division of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials issued a new reference guide for the preservation of historic bridges.]

Georgia DOT said one of its bridges qualifies for adoption if it is over 50 years old, is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, and the agency has officially proposed to replace it.

Entities looking to adopt a historic bridge are responsible for all future legal and financial aspects of the bridge including maintenance and preserving the features that make it historic.

Some historic bridges, such as concrete bridges, are not “adoption suitable” as they cannot easily be relocated without damage, Georgia DOT noted.

The agency added that, once adopted, a bridge must be publicly accessible in a new location and for a new purpose such as part of a walking trail in a public park. However, it cannot be reused on a public road for vehicular purposes.

Owners may store the bridge in a storage facility in order to raise funds for relocation at a new site.

editor@aashto.org

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