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MKT - Boonville Railroad Bridge (1932)


Side view

Photo taken by James Baughn

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BH Photo #104944

Street Views 


Last Katy Train on bridge at Boonville, MO

This is a video segment one of the last trains to cross the Boonville, Missouri Katy RR Bridge. Shot in 1986 by Wayne Lammers when The Katy RR was in negotiations with the Union Pacific RR. This video shows the bridge from different angles and the bridge operator C. D. Gregory. I was called by The Katy Engineer, Dennis Huff, who advising me that this would be the last train to cross the Boonville Katy Bridge. Since then the City of Boonvile has taken possession of the bridge and are in the process of converting it to be a large part of the Katy Trail. The bridge was built in 1931-32 as MKT Bridge No. 191.1 by the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad to replace an 1873 MKT much lighter structure. It has four trusses over the water and a vertical 408 foot span lift in the middle, and was constructed by Kansas City Bridge Company (substructure), American Bridge Company (superstructure), and General Electric Company (electric installation). The bridge is still operational but is in need some repair.

Video posted by Wayne Lammers, linked by Alexander D. Mitchell IV

Play video on YouTube

MKT Boonville Bridge from the air | 08-14-2016

Wished it was better, but I think it's good enough.

Mark W. Shannon


See http://savethekatybridge.org/ for more information on current preservation efforts.


Compiled by James Baughn

Jan. 10, 1874
First bridge opened to railroad traffic for the MKT Railroad, built by the American Bridge Co. under W.G. Coolidge.
First bridge superstructure rehabilitated
Work started to replace superstructure with new truss spans, but using existing piers
April 1, 1896
Second bridge opened
Third and current bridge constructed on new alignment 65 feet downstream
Determined eligible for posting to the National Register of Historic Places
Rails-to-Trails Act passed by Congress establishing legal groundwork for converting unused railroad lines into recreational trails
MKT discontinued railroad service
Agreement signed between MKT and the State of Missouri transferring control of the railroad right-of-way to create what would become Katy Trail State Park
Union Pacific acquired MKT
July 2004
Boonville Daily News published story that Union Pacific had already contracted with a demolition company to dismantle the bridge and reuse four of the five spans for a second railroad bridge at Osage City
Oct. 25, 2004
Bill Wimmer, UP's Vice President of Engineering, sent letter to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources asserting that the railroad has the authority to demolish the bridge
Dec. 23, 2004
Stephen Mahfood, outgoing DNR director, wrote letter to UP claiming rights to use the bridge under the 1987 agreement
April 25, 2004
New DNR director Doyle Childers reversed course and ceded control of the bridge back to Union Pacific
Feb. 4, 2005
"Save the Katy Bridge Committee" formed
May 3, 2005
Boonville residents staged rally at the Cooper County Courthouse to support saving the bridge
May 6, 2005
Ron Kucera, deputy director for policy at DNR, resigned in protest over the bridge decision
May 16, 2005
Wall Street Journal published front-page story about the bridge
May 26, 2005
Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon filed lawsuit against DNR director Doyle Childers to save the bridge
July 12, 2005
Save the Katy Bridge Committee estimated that bridge could be rehabilitated and reopend for around $1 million
July 20, 2005
Nixon expanded lawsuit to include Union Pacific Railroad


Vertical-lift through truss bridge over the Missouri River on Future Katy Trail in Boonville
Boonville, Cooper County, Missouri, and Howard County, Missouri
Partially opened to rail-trail use April 2nd, 2016
Future prospects
Preserved for rail-trail use
Built 1932, abandoned in 1992 and donated to city by Union Pacific; reopened for rail-trail use April 2016.
- American Bridge Co. of New York (Superstructure)
- Kansas City Bridge Co. of Kansas City, Missouri (Substructure)
- Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad (MKT)
- Union Pacific Railroad (UP)
From north to south:
Three fixed, riveted, 10-panel, polygonal Warren through truss spans, each 300 ft.
One vertical-lift, riveted, 14-panel, polygonal Warren through truss, 408 ft., weighs 2 million pounds
One fixed, riveted, 8-panel, polygonal Warren through truss spans, 247 ft.
One plate girder span, 60 ft. (removed) for Union Pacific Railroad to run taller trains
Length of largest span: 408.0 ft.
Total length: 1,615.0 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982
Also called
Katy - Boonville Bridge
MKT - Missouri River Bridge
Boonville Katy Bridge
Boonville Railroad Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+38.97967, -92.75437   (decimal degrees)
38°58'47" N, 92°45'16" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/521275/4314549 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Land survey
T. 49 N., R. 16 W., Sec. 35
615 ft. above sea level
Inventory numbers
NRHP 82005311 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 21337 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • January 4, 2022: Updated by Nathan Holth: Added builders.
  • October 15, 2019: New photos from Nick Schmiedeler
  • October 16, 2016: New Street View added by Dana and Kay Klein
  • October 16, 2016: New photos from John Marvig
  • September 6, 2016: New video from Mark Shannon
  • April 6, 2016: Updated by Clark Vance: Added NRHP info
  • March 29, 2016: Updated by Alexander D. Mitchell IV: Bridge to be reopened to pedestrian/bike use April 2, 2016; corrected key bits of data
  • October 4, 2014: New photo from Douglas Butler
  • May 27, 2014: Updated by Alexander D. Mitchell IV: Added video, updated status, including website
  • February 20, 2014: New photos from Jack Schmidt
  • August 30, 2013: New Street View added by Douglas Butler
  • August 9, 2012: Updated by Daniel Hopkins: Added category "Railroad"
  • November 26, 2010: New photo from James Baughn
  • April 29, 2008: New photo from David B. Haun
  • October 31, 2005: Posted additional photos and info from Todd Baslee

Related Bridges 



MKT - Boonville Railroad Bridge (3rd)
Posted October 15, 2019, by Nick Schmiedeler (nick [at] nickschmiedeler [dot] com)

Still that way, Clark. Can walk onto and to end of 1st span on south end, visited for 1st time this weekend, the thing is amazing, hoping someday it will be able to be completely traversed.

MKT - Boonville Railroad Bridge (3rd)
Posted April 5, 2016, by Clark Vance (cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com)

You can now walk out on to it. Just the first phase.


MKT - Boonville Railroad Bridge (3rd)
Posted March 29, 2016, by Chris Perry

Great news to hear of the reopening! Will have to check it out this September when I'm in Boonville. I suppose they would have to drop the lift span to make it passable.

MKT - Boonville Bridge
Posted October 22, 2015, by ArtS (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

To reopen in the spring as a pedestrian bridge:


Boonville Railroad Bridge
Posted October 5, 2011, by Luke (fmj93 [at] aol [dot] com)

How easy is it to access the control room?

Boonville Railroad Bridge
Posted August 6, 2011, by Ben Tate

The Missouri travel guide says this is the longest lift-span bridge in the world.

Boonville Railroad Bridge
Posted February 23, 2010, by alex (alexleelovecats [at] yahoo [dot] com)

i think this very intresting i think it should be shown again to everyone u use to ask about this bridge every time i past but now im learning about it and understnd the facts of it

Boonville Railroad Bridge
Posted February 19, 2010, by jack (jackkav [at] sbcglobal [dot] net)

I agree with John O I like this bridge so I need some pics of it in action

Boonville Railroad Bridge
Posted February 8, 2010, by Robert Stinnett (robert [at] robertstinnett [dot] com)

On February 4, 2009 Governor Jay Nixon (Missouri) announced that Union Pacific was transfering all ownership rights to the bridge to the City of Boonville, MO. The city has announced they will rehab the bridge and work towards making it part of the Katy Trail. The legal battle is finally over - the bridge will live on!

Boonville Railroad Bridge
Posted January 23, 2010, by John O (bigtex144 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I was wondering if anyone has any pictures of this bridge in action, or any stories/tales of trains crossing it? I personally am totally intrigued by this bridge, and would love to see a train on it. At the very least, I wish I could see some of what the depot/tracks/approach/bridge all looked like before the line was abandoned and Isle of Capri butted in. So if any one has any other great material, I would be most appreciative if they would post it. :)

Speaking of which, the pictures someone took on the bridge/in the operation house are quite amazing. In fact, it has inspired me to make my own trek out onto the bridge sometime this winter before all the vegitation on the north side grows back up, preventing access...

Boonville Railroad Bridge
Posted September 11, 2009, by jack (jackkav [at] sbcglobal [dot] net)

reuse it

Boonville Railroad Bridge
Posted November 25, 2008, by Al Bertram (abertram8297 [at] charter [dot] net)

I saw this bridge for the first time in October of 1985 as I was travelling from Leavenworth, Kansas to my home in Dupo, Illinois. I had just spent four months at a course at Fort Leavenworth. I have always enjoyed photographing and observing lift, bascule, and swing-span bridges. I did not get a chance to see this bridge in action, even though the rail line was still in use at that time. I have a couple of questions for anyone who can answer them. Where was the bridgetender's office located at on the bridge? Also, it appears that the bridge was designed for double-track use, although I don't think the KATY ever had a double track line to St. Louis. I was stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma from 1985 to 1989 and had the chance to photograph KATY trains in Oklahoma and Texas (even a freight that had a caboose!) before the road's demise in the late 1980's. I was sorry to see it go!

Boonville Railroad Bridge
Posted April 19, 2008, by David B. Haun (dbhaun [at] gmail [dot] com)

A Picture of the Katy Railroad Bridge at Boonville before the Casino was built.

Boonville Railroad Bridge
Posted March 21, 2008, by David B. Haun (dbhaun [at] gmail [dot] com)

Photo 7 of 20 Motor housing.

Boonville Railroad Bridge
Posted October 21, 2006, by Leon Sapp (leonhsapp [at] peoplepc [dot] com)

I spent many a evening on the bridge in the company of Gordon Harvey drinking coffee and keeping up with my operations. It was a better place to keep track of train movements and the day to day happenings on the 'East End' than my office in New Franklin. I watched many a train pass over the bridge and many a tow pass under. It would be a great loss for us, not only the fans of the Katy Railroad but for the State of Missouri to see this once vital link gone forever.

Boonville Railroad Bridge
Posted September 8, 2005, by Chris (hbrotherproperties [at] hotmail [dot] com)

This bridge could be a great asset to the Katy Trail as well as restoring the bridge. Personally I have ridden, in its entirety, the Katy Trail twice and would have personally enjoyed the trip across the Missouri River on this bridge. It seems so arbitrary in times like these to be concerned with a bridge, but restoring our history as well connecting the "true" MKT railroad (Katy) corridor should be important to any outdoor enthusiast.

First time visiting your website it is great. Thanks for any support in saving the Bridge.

Boonville Railroad Bridge
Posted July 23, 2005, by James Baughn (bridges [at] midwestplaces [dot] com)

The case number for the lawsuit filed by Jay Nixon is "05CO-CC00023". You can browse the case docket by going to http://www.courts.mo.gov/casenet and typing in the case number.