Governor Nixon announces agreement to save Katy Bridge at Boonville

MKT Bridge at Boonville
MKT Bridge at Boonville

As I type this article, Governor Nixon is holding a press conference at the Old Katy Depot in Boonville to announce a deal to save the Katy Bridge at Boonville from destruction and transfer it to the City of Boonville.

You can help: Take a moment and thank Governor Nixon for taking on an solving this difficult issue. Click here to send Governor Nixon an email message.

Will the bridge be connected to and used as part of the Katy Trail?  Here is what the Cooper County Voice says:

The bridge is part of the original railway corridor that now makes up the Katy Trail State Park. Nixon said the Missouri Division of State Parks is now willing to discuss with Boonville how the bridge could be incorporated into the trail.

“It’s a done deal if that’s what they want to do with it,” Nixon said. “This is a really, really good day for our state.”

More details about the situation and agreement from Governor Nixon's press release:

Gov. Nixon announces agreement-in-principle that will preserve historic Katy bridge at Boonville Boonville, Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon today announced that the State of Missouri has reached an agreement-in-principle with Union Pacific Railroad that will preserve the historic MKT railroad lift bridge over the Missouri River at Boonville. The Governor was at the Katy Trail depot in Boonville today to make the announcement, where he was joined by representatives of the city of Boonville and the railroad, by members of the Save the Katy Bridge Coalition, and by hiking and bicycling enthusiasts.


Under the agreement, Union Pacific will transfer the bridge to the city of Boonville. City officials and the Save the Katy Bridge Coalition have led efforts to preserve the landmark bridge, which is part of the rail corridor that forms the 225-mile long Katy Trail State Park. The bridge was constructed in 1932; at the time, its 400-foot long central lift span was the longest in the country.
 
This is an exciting day not only for the people of Boonville, but also for recreation enthusiasts and for those want to preserve a piece of Missouri and railroad history, Gov. Nixon said. I want to thank the city, the coalition and Union Pacific for making this possible to keep this historic bridge in place, and I look forward to seeing plans for developing the bridge as a tourism centerpiece for Boonville come to fruition. 
 
The Governor said that with the announcement of the bridge transfer, the Missouri Division of State Parks was prepared to discuss with Boonville officials how the bridge might eventually be incorporated into use by bicyclists, joggers and hikers using the nearby Katy Trail. Boonville is one of the most populous communities along the trail, which is used by more than 300,000 people each year.
 
Gov. Nixon said todays announcement about the bridge at Boonville follows other good news announced last week about transportation in Missouri. On Jan. 28, the Governor and federal officials announced that Missouri will receive $31 million in federal Recovery Act money to make improvements along the rail corridor between Kansas City and St. Louis.
 
A portion of that money will help construct a second railroad bridge over the Osage River near Jefferson City. The second bridge will eliminate the only stretch of single track between Jefferson City and St. Louis, meaning that passenger trains going across the state will no longer be delayed because they have to wait for freight trains to pass over the single bridge.
 
The result of eliminating the bottleneck, the Governor said, will be quicker travel for rail passengers and freight between the states two largest cities and between the capital and St. Louis.
 
This federal money for rail improvements is more good news for travelers and for job creation, Gov. Nixon said. This is especially true when coupled with the announcement last week that more than a billion dollars from the Recovery Act is being used to develop the corridor between St. Louis and Chicago for passenger trains to run at higher speeds with fewer delays. 

The Save the Katy Bridge Coalition has been working for this day for over six years.

The bridge is a major historical, scenic and natural attraction that is just a few feet from the current Katy Trail and the Old Katy Depot in Boonville.

In 2005 we took a tour of the MKT Bridge with folks from the Save the Katy Bridge Coaliation.  It really is an amazing way to experience the river--away from traffic, and noise.  No other Missouri River bridge in the state offers that experience.

From the bridge, people will be able to watch the river, the wildlife.  It is one of the few places in Missouri people will really be able to connect with the river in a natural, quiet environment.

Related information: