The MKT Railroad Bridge

Cooper & Howard Counties

This bridge constitutes the only Missouri river crossing for the Missouri-Kansas-Texas (MKT) railroad. It has a unique vertical lift span design to allow easy passage of river traffic. The lift span itself is 408 feet long, electrically operated, and weighs more than 1,200 tons. This bridge merged railroad and river commerce on the Missouri River. It is in excellent structural condition and the quality of its steel contributes to the threat to its existence. The direct threat to this structure stems from interpretations of the 1987 Rails to Trails agreement that developed the KT State Park along the Missouri Rivers. The bridge was included as part of the interim trail use agreement. However, in October 2004, the Union Pacific Railroad initiated plans to demolish the bridge and recycle its steel for new bridge at Osage City, Missouri. There was strong public outcry and demolition was temporarily on hold. However, recently DNR has reversed its position and has agreed to allow Union Pacific to remove the bridge. Therefore, there is an immediate threat to this unique historic property.

Listed in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008.

Update: This site has been SAVED! The Save the Katy Bridge Coalition was presented with a McReynolds award in 2012.

“In 2005, Missouri Preservation’s list of Most Endangered Places included the 1932 KATY Railroad bridge at Boonville. Owner Union Pacific Railroad sought to replace the aging river crossing with a new railroad bridge. The proposed upgrade included demolition of the existing lift bridge. The KATY Bridge Coalition formed to save the historic bridge with the goal of converting it into a bicycle/pedestrian link across the Missouri River for the Katy Trail. After six years of advocacy by the Coalition, Governor Jay Nixon announced that the bridge would not be torn down. An agreement signed by the State, the City of Boonville and Union Pacific turned ownership of the bridge over to the City of Boonville. With this major hurdle overcome, the Coalition is now moving forward with plans to convert the bridge to pedestrian use.”

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