Montana Department of Transportation

Property & Equipment

Historic Bridge Adoption

Program Details

Criteria for Selection of New Owner

black and white picture of Flathead River Old Steel Bridge east of KalispellThe intent of the Adopt a Bridge Program is to maintain the historic integrity of the existing bridge to the greatest extent possible. Anyone interested in adopting a bridge will be required to submit an application, which addresses the following questions:

  1. Who will be the owner of the bridge?
  2. What will be the intended use of the bridge?
  3. Who will use the bridge?
  4. Where will the bridge be located?
  5. How do you intend to move the bridge? Please be fairly specific about how the bridge will be transported, which route will be used and obstacles that may be encountered.
  6. Are you willing to sign an agreement holding the State and County harmless for use of the structure and lead paint on the structure and to maintain the historic integrity of the bridge?
  7. How do you intend to install the bridge at the new site? (Will permits be required, how will the substructure be designed/constructed, how will the roadwork be accomplished?)

If the bridge is to be left in place:

  1. How will access & right of way be provided?
  2. A non-governmental entity will be required to post a cash bond or bond in the form and amount to be determined by the state to cover the cost of future demolition. Are you able to provide such a bond?
  3. Provide evidence that you have the assets and income to insure long-term maintenance and upkeep of the bridge.
  4. If the bridge is to be open to the public what is the anticipated cost of liability insurance? Which insurance company provided this quote?

The applications will be reviewed for responsiveness and completeness.

The selection criteria noted below (in descending order of preference) will be used as a guide in the event two or more entities express an interest in the bridge. Consideration will be given to leaving the structure in place and for providing the highest use for the largest population possible.

picture of Yellowstone River Bridge at Corwin Springs in Park County

  1. Leave in Place *
    1. Adoption by a government entity
    2. Adoption by an established civic group
    3. Adoption by a non-incorporated group
    4. Adoption by an individual

      * Under this criteria only a government entity will be considered if the bridge is not on or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
  2. Move to a New Location
    1. Adoption by a government agency
    2. Adoption by an established civic group
    3. Adoption by a non-incorporated group
    4. Adoption by an individual

If there is no obvious choice for a new owner by using these guides and the information provided in the application, the new owner will be selected by lot.

The new owner will be required to sign an agreement holding the State, county and/or city harmless for any structural problems or lead paint associated with the bridge. This agreement will contain the conditions by which the new owner will agree to be a responsible party and agree to maintain the historic integrity of the structure. When determining whether an applicant is a responsible party the state will ask for evidence that the applicant has the assets and income to insure the long-term maintenance and upkeep of the bridge.

Musselshell River Bridge on Findon Lane, North of Martinsdale in Meagher CountyUnder criteria for 1.b, 1.c or 1.d, the new owners will be required to provide a cash bond or a bond in an amount and form to be determined by the State to cover the cost of future demolition of the structure. The bond will be used in the event the new owner defaults on his/her commitment for care and maintenance of the bridge.

The new owner will receive the estimated cost of removal to relocate/rehab the bridge unless the project goes to bid in which case the bid amount from the low bidder will be used.

This policy will also be used for bridges that are selected for adoption but are not on or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. In those cases the agreement may or may not require maintaining the historic integrity of the structure. In such cases, the amount available to relocate/rehab the structure will be determined on a case-by-case basis not to exceed the estimated (or bid) amount to remove the structure.

For an example of how the program can work, please see the preservation of the Craig Bridge.