The Federal Highway Administration and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet are looking for offers from organizations, governments or individuals.
They're not looking for money as in an actual sale, but rather for some individual or organization who will be responsible for displaying the bridge in its historic perspective.
To sweeten the deal, they'll pay all expenses associated with taking the span apart, loading it up, and transporting it to a new site.
The buyer will be responsible for all costs in preparing the new site, reassembling the bridge, and any structural work needed for its new use.
If there are no takers by late April, the bridge will be documented to the Historic American Engineering Record, then demolished. It will be replaced with a concrete span in the very same location.
According to the Cabinet's six-year highway plan, which is subject to change if the state legislature should decide to do so, money for the new bridge will be appropriated in 2009. The estimated cost of the new bridge is nearly $2.7 million, according to figures in the plan.
"The earliest we could start on construction would be late 2009," said Allen Blair, spokesman for the Department of Highways' District 9 office in Flemingsburg. "With no problems developing, it should be finished in one construction season."
There are guidelines to be satisfied by whoever buys the bridge, Blair said. "The historical groups have regulations to be maintained. It has to be used in a historical way."
He said it's not highly unusual for someone to take an old bridge and reconstruct it under these conditions.
"It's been done before, not a lot, but several times," he said.
The old bridge, the second-longest multispan, pin-connected truss in Kentucky, was closed in 2003 because of structural problems. Greenup has been without a way in and out of town on that end for nearly five years.
Local historical groups had hoped to save the span in its present location and have a new bridge built along side it, but no one could come up with the money needed for preservation and maintenance.
The bridge connects the west end of Main Street with U.S. 23 via a one-quarter mile state route that crosses the CSX Transportation railroad tracks.
There are at least four other connections the town has with U.S. 23, including one on the east end served by a railroad overpass. There also is a four-lane concrete bridge carrying U.S. 23 across the Little Sandy River as 23 bypasses the town on its south edge.
"It will be handy to have the bridge open again down on the lower end," said Charles Douglas, a Greenup attorney.
He said people will use it, even though driving habits have changed after the bridge being down for so long.
"And there might some day be some emergency evacuation needed whereby the bridge would be handy," he added.
A wooden bridge was built on the site in the 1830s, but was washed away by a flood in 1884, according to Nina Mitchell Biggs' "History of Greenup County."
The iron bridge was built in 1884 by the King Bridge Co. It was done under the supervision of County Judge Lewis Nichols and county commissioners Robert Johnson, James D. Biggs and John Rhoades.
Their names are still legible on a rusty iron plaque riveted to the span about waist high on each end.
Inquiries on buying the bridge can be sent to Karen Mynhier, Kentucky Highway Department, District 9, Elizaville Road, P.O. Box 347, Flemingsburg, KY 41041.
More information is available by calling Blair at (800) 817-2551.
G. SAM PIATT can be reached at (749) 353-3101, ext. 236.