Flathead bridge finally being taken down


Flathead bridge finally being taken down

KALISPELL, Mont. - The old steel bridge that was once used as a single-lane bridge to cross the Flathead River in Kalispell is finally being taken down.

It's been a landmark in the Flathead since it was built in 1894. But now, the last remaining section of the old steel bridge is finally being taken down.

"Pete Skibsrud purchased this section when they were taking it down in an effort to preserve it so it could be reused in its historical structure even if it wasn't in the same location," said Jeffrey Funk.

Skibsrud purchased the bridge for $15,000 six years ago. But after finding no use for it, he gave it away for free.

That's when Jeffrey Funk stepped in.

"I pretty much had a standing offer -- if you're not able to do that, I would like to salvage the material for reuse rather than recycling through remelting," Funk said.

Funk is taking the bridge down piece by piece, starting with the two ends, and then he has the middle section, where he can more easily cut and break down those parts.

"I had my heart set on it before they took it down.  I wanted to buy some of the material as they were taking it down and they wanted too much money for it.  The contractor who took it down was very proud of it, so I couldn't afford it then," said Funk.

Funk is a blacksmith artist and plans on using the pieces of the bridge for future projects, including one for Skibsrud.

While it will be a lot of work for Funk to take down the bridge, he's happy he can help put it to good use.

"If Pete could have saved it or the community could have saved it, that would have been the best, but this is the second best," Funk said.

Funk is hoping to have the bridge torn down and cut up into pieces to be removed from the site by this Friday.

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