Three months of work to save the Upper Bluffton Bridge has netted just $500 in donations aimed at retaining it on the National Register of Historic Places. As a result, the bridge may have to be scrapped.
Winneshiek County Engineer Lee Bjerke has contacted the group "Workin' Bridges," which has been leading the drive to preserve the bridge. Bjerke is concerned that the bridge is still standing on DNR land near the new bridge.
"I asked him for a few more weeks," stated Workin' Bridges spokesperson Julie Bowers. "We just haven't been able to raise any money to disassemble the bridge."
Bowers says her group has received an offer to transport the bridge to storage, but it would cost $10,000 to mobilize four men, two trucks with welding equipment, the rental of a SkyTrack for disassembly of the top cord and a fork truck to get the pieces on the trucks. "That's at least 6 days of motels, food, plus the fuel," said Nels Raynor, the president of the company that gave Workin' Bridges ther quote. "if I could have volunteered all of our time I would have, but it's been a tough year," said Raynor.
Workin' Bridges officials are still optimistic. "If we all pull together, we can preserve the Upper Bluffton Bridge until the next use for it can be found," says Bowers.
More information about the effort to save the bridge can be found at www.skunkriverbridge.org