Bridging the gap: vote to buy historic Boonville bridge succeeds

Bridging the gap: negotiations over sale of historic Boonville bridge finalized

After eight years of negotiations, one of Missouriâ??s ten most endangered historic places is now safe.

Boonville city council members voted to take ownership of the Boonville Katy Bridge from Union Pacific and make the historic structure, which was built in 1932, a part of the Katy Trail.

While standing in front of the historic rail bridge Tuesday, Boonville city leaders and area dignitaries announced they will restore the Katy Bridge in three phases. City leaders are using $430,000 in state funding to help pay for the first phase of bridge renovations, which includes the replacement of the missing span on the Boonville side of the river.

Boonville Mayor Julie Thacher said, â??This journey would take us through the courts, the legislative halls of Jefferson City and Washington, D.C. and would involve thousands of hours of negotiations at all levels, both public and private.â??

The bridge was the center of a legal battle in 2005 when Union Pacific officials wanted to use portions of the bridge over the Osage River near Jefferson City.

The bridge sits right in the middle of the state of Missouri, and Boonville residents consider it the crown jewel of the Katy Trail. The bridge will be the only river crossing on the Katy Trail.

Katy Bridge Coalition Director Paula Shannon said, â??Itâ??s definitely a camera queen because she knows how to show herself off any time of day. We have gorgeous shots from sunrise to sunset, from winter to summer.â??

City leaders hope to complete all three phases of bridge renovation and construction within the next two years. Once completed, hikers and bikers would be able to use the bridge and its 408-foot lift span as part of the Katy Trail between Cooper and Howard Counties.

Boonville city leaders say the cost of the bridge project is about $4 million.

Members of the Katy Bridge Coaltion are still working to reach that goal to pay for all three phases of the project.