WATERVILLE, Ohio — It's been a landmark crossing over the Maumee River for more than a century. Now, the Roche de Boeuf Bridge in Waterville is for sale.
The starting bid? Just $1.
"I've never seen a bridge before be auctioned. This is a pretty unique experience," says Ohio Department of Transportation spokesperson Rebecca Dangelo. "We are going to be auctioning this off as a last-ditch effort for anyone who is able and wants to take care of this bridge."
ODOT will auction the bridge and property on either side in both Lucas and Wood counties on June 30. The property totals 5.5 acres and is appraised at a total value $100. Dangelo explains the bridge is a safety hazard to people using the Maumee River.
Dangelo says ODOT reached out to historical societies, preservation groups, people who owned land near the bridge and the city of Waterville. While she notes there was one party interested, no deal was ever worked out.
Then, ODOT did a feasibility study. It looked at several different options ranging from completely restoring the bridge to removing just the part over the waterway that poses a risk. Dangelo says some proposals would have cost tens of millions of dollars.
ODOT also looked at completely removing the bridge. That project came in at an estimated $2.2 million.
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There were then public meetings.
The Roche de Boeuf Bridge Historical Society writes, "Today the beautiful bridge continues to age and fall in the river. It still remains a beautiful place to paint pictures of the bridge. Today it lies in ruins with some of the bridge arches falling in to the River. It is still owned by the Ohio Department of Highways. Such a sad ending to a beautiful bridge."
The auction is set for 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, June 30, at Sidecut Metropark.
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Whoever buys the bridge will also need to agree to a series of conditions like this one, posted by ODOT: "The Purchaser assumes all responsibility and liability for maintenance, management, securing, repair, replacement or removal of the bridge structure.ODOT will not retain any responsibilities or liabilities for or in connection with the bridge or associated right of way property."
More information can be found the Ohio Department of Transportation's website.