November 29, 2005

Old Missouri River bridge goes to a good home

SALMON, Idaho (Reuters) - When Scott Nelson learned an
aging bridge over the Missouri River was to be tossed on the
scrap heap of history, he did the only thing a lifelong
preservationist could do: he offered to give it a home.

"I couldn't sleep at night knowing what might happen to
it," Nelson said of the 101-year-old, 60-ton, 573-foot (174
meters), one-lane, steel-truss bridge over the Missouri between
Helena and Cascade in north central Montana.

Montana's Transportation Department had been seeking a new
owner for the bridge since 2003 and was all but resigned to its
destruction when Nelson signaled his interest. They had offered
it for nothing to anyone with the space and desire to keep it.

The bridge is slated to be moved to a 108-acre site west of
Helena in the coming weeks, just in time for the opening of its
$3 million replacement. Nelson is now looking for the $60,000
he needs to re-erect the old bridge on his property.