Missouri DNR ignored legal advice about Boonville Bridge danger to Katy Trail

Tom Uhlenbrock, "Katy Trail's fate could rest on Boonville bridge," St. Louis Post Dispatch, 16 July 2005:
The department [Missouri Department of Natural Resources] also had contracted with attorney Charles [Montange] to provide legal advice on preserving the bridge. In January, [Montange] issued a memo that said removing the bridge would threaten the corridor that was being banked for possible future railroad use, and in the interim being used as a recreational trail.

Construction in St. Charles County already had caused one breach. Removing the Boonville bridge would leave the section from Boonville to St. Charles without a connection to an existing rail line, creating a legal loophole for landowners to reclaim their railroad easements.
Charles Montange, the attorney mentioned in the newspaper story, is one of the premier authorities on rails-trails law in the country. He was involved with creating the rails-trails legislation, consults basically full time on rails-trails matters, and has been involved in numerous large rails-trails project across the country.

What this article tells us, is that the Missouri DNR knew as long ago as January 2005 what MoBikeFed has only been able to learn and report in the past few months:

* Removing the Boonville Bridge will leave a 160-mile section of the Katy Trail with its railbanked status hanging by a thread, only connected to the national rail network on one end.

* If any section of the Katy is disconnected from the active rail network that section will lose its railbanked status and revert to adjoining property owners.

* That one remaining connecting thread, at St. Charles, has several different kinds of difficulties.

Keep in mind that this is not theoretical now. The Union Pacific RailRoad has now moved to abandon the rail corridor underlying the Boonville Bridge and if that abandonment is allowed to stand, it means the Katy Trail is now divided in two at that point.

Read original documents related to the Boonville Bridge issue here.