How you can own a Missouri River bridge for free — if you remove it

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Transportation is hoping to find a new home for a historic bridge on Highway 291.

The agency is accepting proposals for someone to reuse the Liberty Bend Bridge over the Missouri River, connecting Jackson and Clay counties.

Replacing the bridge is already approved through MoDOT’s 2026 Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan. It’s estimated to cost $87.5 million.

Crews will start the environmental phase soon but don’t have a set timeline for the rest of the project. A MoDOT spokesperson said construction could start in 2027.

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The existing 1949 bridge is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places for its significance in transportation and engineering. Because of that, federal law requires the state to first make it available for donation.

After submitting a proposal, the selected government entity, historic or civic group, or private citizen can obtain the Missouri River bridge — for free.

But there’s a catch: The cost of removing the bridge is up to you.

MoDOT does note on its website that some of the costs it would have spent to demolish the bridges could potentially be available to reimburse recipients for reusing them.

MoDOT also said preserving the existing bridge in place “might be acceptable once project plans have developed and a preferred alternative is selected.”

The Liberty Bend Bridge is a Warren through truss bridge, constructed in 1949 by the Mount Vernon Bridge Company from Ohio. It was designed by Sverdrup and Parcel from St. Louis.

MoDOT is taking proposals for its reuse through Sept. 30, 2024. Find more details online or email MoDOT’s Intermediate Historic Preservation Specialist Tyler Holladay at


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