Boonville Bridge issue "in holding pattern"

According to a Columbia Tribune article:
Save the Katy Bridge, a not-for-profit group, has been collecting pledges to raise about $1 million to restore the old bridge. The group already has raised about $390,000, and volunteers have stepped in to provide the extra $95,000 in labor needed to complete the first part of a two-phase renovation, Shannon said.
Katy Bridge at Boonvile


The first phase would restore planking on the northern 920 feet of the bridge and complete a 3,000-foot stretch of the Katy trail leading to the bridge from Highway 87.

Work can't start, however, until a legal dispute about ownership rights to the bridge are settled in court. "We're in a holding pattern right now," Shannon said.
MoBikeFed's interest in the Boonville Bridge is that, if the bridge is removed and all the legal niceties observed to a "T" (which, so far, they have not been), the removal of the bridge could endanger the legal status of a long stretch of the Katy Trail.

More details here.

The article includes a statement by Kurt Schaefer of the Missouri DNR that requires some explanation:

Kurt Schaefer, DNR's general counsel, said the bridge was specifically left out of the original agreement and that the state does not have the deed to the bridge.
In fact, the bridge is specifically included in the original "Interim Trail Agreement" in a complex and very important way.

Schaefer is correct that the state does not have the deed to the bridge.

However, in the agreement the state reserved TWO rights in the bridge:
  • The right to use the bridge as part of the Katy Trail, if various details can be worked out to the satisfaction of both parties
  • The right to have the railroad keep the bridge available 'for transportation purposes'
It is this second right, the right to have the bridge remain in place and available for transportation purposes, that was the key required element needed to preserve the legal integrity of the Katy Trail's legal status as a "railbanked" corridor.

Eliminating that provision does create potential legal problems for the Katy Trail. There may be technical ways for the state to repair the legal problems that would be created by the removal of the bridge--but so far the state has shown no apparent interest in pursuing those remedies.

More details about the complex legal situation here.

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