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$3,100 auction bid wins buyer a piece of the Mackinac Bridge

Mackinac Bridge Authority

A piece of steel grating from the Mackinac Bridge has been sold for $3,100. The Mackinac Bridge Authority put it up for sale in an online auction that closed Monday.

The bidding started at just $20, but the winning bid came in at $3,100 before the auction closed at noon. The Bridge Authority used an anonymous bidding platform that doesn’t disclose the winner’s name.

The section of grating, which was recently removed from the bridge, is 38 feet long, five and a half feet wide and weighs about 4,000 pounds. Proceeds from its sale will go to the Mackinac Bridge Authority for maintenance costs.

July Neph, chief bridge engineer, said it's hard to know what the buyer has in mind for the steel.

“I’ve seen anything from people making tables out of them to cutting them up to create arts and crafts,” said Neff. “I think people just like to have a piece of the Mackinac Bridge.”

The steel grating has a greenish hue to it: signs of corrosion from six decades spent in the elements high above the Straits of Mackinac. It’s one of five sections being auctioned off by the Bridge Authority.

Patrick Shea was a natural resources reporter at Interlochen Public Radio. Before joining IPR, he worked a variety of jobs in conservation, forestry, prescribed fire and trail work. He earned a degree in natural resources from Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, and his interest in reporting grew as he studied environmental journalism at the University of Montana's graduate school.