Existing Historic Bridge Available for Sale and Relocation

(January 11, 2010) – Vehicles are usually seen traveling on bridges. It is a rare occasion to see a bridge traveling down a highway on a truck bed. However, the MD 545 Bridge over Little Elk Creek in Cecil County may soon be hitching a ride and finding a home elsewhere in Maryland. 

The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) recently announced that the MD 545 Bridge would be available for purchase by any city or county government, historic preservation organization, bicycle/trail group, other non-profit organization, corporation or individual for reuse at a new location. Funds may be available for some of the costs associated with the relocation of the bridge; however, the new owner will be responsible for preserving the bridge, which is eligible to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, in accordance with established standards for historic bridges.

According to Federal Highway regulations, bridges that experience an average daily traffic (ADT) of 5,000 vehicles or more should be at least 32 feet wide. Constructed in 1932 by Roanoke Iron and Bridge Works for the State Roads Commission (now SHA), the MD 545 Bridge is approximately 27 feet wide and has reached the ADT limit. The bridge, a steel pony truss design, is easily disassembled and reassembled. Conversely, widening the bridge can be complicated and expensive. SHA engineers have determined that the most fiscally responsible option is to build a new structure and sell the existing pony truss structure. 

Truss bridges are one of the oldest types of modern bridges. First built in the 18th century, truss bridges grew popular because their unique design required fewer materials than most other bridges, proving to be cost-effective. Pony truss bridges are most commonly used for pedestrian and bicycle trails. The over-deck design is low and uncovered, making it ideal for sightseeing, and handrails are often a common feature on these small structures. 

Parties interested in purchasing the bridge should contact Fred Shoken in SHA’s Environmental Planning Division/Cultural Resources Section at 1-866-527-0502 or at by March 15, 2010.

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