For anyone interested in historic bridges, about 30 concrete bridge railings that each weigh up to 8,000 pounds are on the market.
The first of the 20-foot railings arrived Thursday at BRING Recycling Center off Franklin Boulevard in Eugene. The 82-year-old concrete slabs with a sunburst-like design were removed from the Cape Creek Bridge, just north of Florence on Highway 101, and were loaded onto a tractor-trailer rig, which took them to Eugene.
"They're really elegant and beautiful," BRING Executive Director Julie Daniel said. "It's wonderful to preserve something like this. They're a piece of Oregon culture and history."
The truck will make several trips in the next few days to transport about 30 of 60 railings to BRING, Daniel said. She said BRING will reach out to architectural firms, universities or anyone with deep pockets who might have a use for the slabs.
Daniel said BRING will evaluate the railings to determine how much they're worth, though it will probably be more expensive to transport the railings than to buy them, given their girth, she said.
"These are not an impulse buy," Daniel said.
The state Department of Transportation said the railings are deteriorating and do not meet modern safety standards. The transportation department is replacing them with new ones made to resemble the original 1932 design. The state began working on the $2.16 million project earlier this year.
Oregon engineer Conde McCullough -- known as Oregon's master bridge builder -- designed Cape Creek Bridge, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005. It was among a string of iconic bridges that he designed along the Oregon Coast.
Hamilton Construction Co., based in Springfield, salvaged the old railings and contacted BRING and other organizations around the state that might be interested in owning them. The company has been preserving parts of historic bridges for years, said spokeswoman Linda Scronce-Johnson.
Scronce-Johnson said residents voiced concerns to the construction company about destroying parts of historic bridges along the coast.
"Rather than grinding (the railings) up and putting them in the landfill, we realized there was some value in them," she said.
Hamilton Construction donated four bridge rails from the Isaac Lee Patterson Bridge in Gold Beach in Southern Oregon to BRING in 2009. The rails serve as decorative pieces at BRING's garden.
The 30 other railings that were not shipped to BRING will go to the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum in Florence and Great Western Corp. in North Bend, which will sell the railings and donate proceeds to local charities, Scronce-Johnson said.
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