An historic bridge in Camden County could be moved to St. Charles County, if a group trying to save the bridge accepts an offer from another party there.

An historic bridge in Camden County could be moved to St. Charles County, if a group trying to save the bridge accepts an offer from another party there.

A public meeting is being held next week to determine the fate of Green’s Mills Bridge, also known as the J Road Bridge. Green’s Mill Historic Bridge Inc. is asking the public to attend their next meeting and help develop a consensus on what should be done with the local landmark. The meeting will be at 6 p.m. Monday, September 10 at the Camdenton Public Library.

The crew Green’s Mill Historic Bridge Inc. has been working for months to decide on a plan of action to save this bridge and is turning to a public count at the meeting to decide.

In May, the Camden County Historical Society officially moved forward with an attempt to purchase the rights to Green’s Mill bridge from the Missouri Department of Transportation without the aid of the Camden County Commission (unless through private means). Since, they have formed Green’s Mill Historic Bridge Inc. to make the initiative official.

Demolition costs for the bridge were estimated in March at $180,000. If a party would have come forward to claim ownership and responsibility for the existing bridge, 80 percent of federal funds that would have gone to demolition would instead be given to the new owner. At the projected cost of $180,000, 80 percent would come to a total of $144,000. To completely rehabilitate the bridge to be more visitor-friendly in the future with ideas such as bike paths and walkways, the costs were estimated at $400,000.

Now, the team is set and open to the possibility of moving the bridge to St. Charles County with interest expressed from another party. Lonetta Bartell, a member of the Green’s Mill Historic Bridge Inc. board of directors, says that they need to have a large turnout for this meeting in order to take a legitimate count of the public opinion.

Bartell’s main concern with this idea is the loss of historic significance of the bridge by moving its location. She says that where it is placed is part of what makes it so special. However, if the vote taken at the meeting is in favor, she says they will move forward with this idea.

The bridge, found between Green Mill Campground and Little Niangua Campground, is one of only four self-anchored suspension bridges in the entire country and the final still standing. A new bridge constructed just 75 feet from the old offers modern construction for easier access and transportation.

The historic crossing was built for the cost of $36,914. The design was a prototype. Just as Bagnell Dam was being finished and the Lake of the Ozarks forming in 1931, Camden County approached the Missouri State Highway Department (the precursor of MoDOT) about building the bridge in this scenic location. MSHD consulted with John A. Roebling’s Sons Company of Trenton, N.J. on building a suspension bridge. Construction began on August 1, 1932 and was completed by the Clinton Bridge Works of Clinton, Iowa on March 1933.

With its background as one of Missouri’s most important early highway bridges, the bridge has been ruled eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion C for engineering as a nationally significant example of a self-anchored suspension bridge.

Before any vote is taken, Bartell hopes to hold a thoughtful conversation with those in attendance about what this choice would mean for not only the bridge, but to those who enjoy it in its current location. Details of project costs and tentative dates of action are to be discussed during the meeting.