Historic Missouri River Railroad Bridge Saved

A $31 million railroad stimulus fund granted by the federal government saved a historic Missouri River railroad bridge from being destroyed. Plans for the bridge, which has not been used by the railroad industry for decades, have changed from being scrapped by Union Pacific to serving as landmark at the Katy Trail State Park.

Union Pacific had its eye on the bridge for some time. The railroad company wanted to break it down and use the steel to build a second railroad crossing over the Osage River east of Jefferson City. Now that the federal government stepped in and awarded Missouri $31 million in railroad stimulus funds, the Osage River bridge can be built without having to scrap the 78-year-old landmark.

Governor Jay Nixon announced the change in plans Feb. 3, 2010. While public and private funds will still need to be collected to pay for renovations of the historic bridge, plans to build the Osage River Bridge can commence. The total cost to build the new bridge is $28 million. Union Pacific will provide $5.6 million and the federal grant will cover the rest.

According to Boonville Mayor Dave Nicholas, the estimated cost to get the old bridge in good enough shape to use as a bridge for hikers and bikers in the Katy Trail is somewhere between $2 million and $4 million. Funds will come from the city ($500,000 in April) and fundraising by the nonprofit Save the Katy Bridge Coalition.

For more railroad and FELA law information, contact a FELA law attorney a Gordon & Elias, L.L.P.