Next time you go to the Bellingham Farmers Market, look up. High above your head, you’ll see refurbished pieces of a Skagit Valley bridge built in 1937.
Prior to the construction of the Depot Market Square in 2006, the Old Highway 99 Bridge — otherwise known as Riverside Bridge — was demolished in 2004. The Market Square Committee salvaged structural arches and railings, with the expectation it would lower construction costs of the projected $2.5 million project by $255,000.
Though the steel was free, it cost $90,000 for it to be sandblasted and repainted, said Brian Griffin, a local historian who was a member of the committee.
The agreement was “pure serendipity” according to the farmers market website.
Although the bridge’s contributions were not planned and the depot’s architect had to rework the steel into the blueprints, the additions “added a very interesting, constructional visual component to the building” Giffin said.
In place of the bridge that connected Burlington Boulevard and Riverside Drive, a concrete bridge was built between 2001 and 2006. The new bridge was never named, said Michele Myers of Mount Vernon Public Works Department.
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