Boonville, MO – Katy Bridge, a rusty Union Pacific railroad bridge that connects the Katy Trail, is a large topic of discussion in Boonville, MO. The city has created a “Save the Katy Bridge Coalition” in hopes to convert it for use by hikers, bikers, and Katy Trail State Park-goers. The bridge was officially handed over to the City of Boonville by its former owners, Union Pacific Corp, in the middle of February this year. The bridge, which was built in 1932 and hasn’t carried a train in a couple of decades, is considered a landmark in central Missouri and was in danger of being torn down.
Charles Birnstiel, a principal associate at Hardesty & Hanover, has been working hard to find a way to make the bridge fully functional again. It will not be used for train travel, but rather as a pedestrian bridge that crosses the Missouri River. Birnstiel and other H&H employees have been volunteering their expertise on the project.
Cost, construction, and liability are all concerns of Missouri citizens. Birnstiel and Tom Duffy, also of Hardesty & Hanover, were both fairly confident going into this project that the costs would not be as high as most people would think. “It was an operational decision by Union Pacific not to run trains over the bridge,” says Duffy. “So, we are confident that it hasn’t got to do with machinery.” He was correct.
After the first day of inspections, they were pleasantly surprised by the state of the equipment in the machinery room. After two more days of inspections, they will compile a report on the state of the structure. The three-day inspection is due to include a preliminary inspection of all structural, electrical, and mechanical components.
The city council is scheduled to vote on the decision to restore the bridge or not within the next week or so.