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Historic Franklin Bridge Will Be Available For Private Use



Anyone interested in owning a historic bridge? Ste. Genevieve County has one available.

Continued bank erosion has led the Ste. Genevieve County Commission to give up on trying to maintain the circa 1920 pony truss bridge on Franklin Road at the outskirts of St. Mary.

They agreed last Thursday that a new, longer span is needed, to overcome the crumbling bank that has rendered the current bridge too dangerous to use.

The commissioners are looking into the state’s historic bridge marketing program.

Historic bridges are offered to any interested parties willing to pay for their removal and transportation.

Presiding Commissioner Randy Ruzicka spoke to Karen Daniels, senior history preservation specialist for the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT). She found that the bridge is not on the National Register of Historic Places, but still felt it could be part of the bridge marketing program.

The bridge, built in 1920, had been on the verge of being condemned in 2020. The county spent nearly $50,000 to replace a bad turnbuckle and replace the wooden planking with a metal grate in December 2020.

About a year ago, Ed Hess, MoDOT’s district bridge engineer, said that another such reinforcement of the lower section of the truss and replacing of a gusset plate on the western two corners of the bridge should make it sound for some time.

In May 2022 it was lifted off its foundation by crane and a cracked ring wall was repaired

This winter, however, the commissioners became aware that bank erosion was undermining the underpinnings.

By now, as recent storms have caused the creek’s banks to crumble even more, things reached the point of no return. Although attempts were made to shore up the banks, it was felt the bridge’s underpinnings were too compromised to keep the bridge open. It has recently been barricaded to traffic.

The circa 1920 Franklin Bridge has been closed due to crumbling creek banks undermining its support system. It will be made available to anyone who can remove it and transport it for private use.