4 votes

Chipman Road Tunnel


East portal

Photo taken by Clark Vance


BH Photo #200541


Street View 


One of several 100+ year old bridges on the old Rock Island line that are in limbo while efforts are made to reactivate the line. Technically cities should not remove them since they are still owned by the RR. Practically, many of them impeded traffic 40+ years ago and have become almost intolerable with development of suburban areas. Lee's Summit recently installed a stop light(!) to control traffic passing through this structure wide enough for a single horse drawn wagon when it was built. If the rail line is eventually reactivated, cities will have to replace these in order to widen the roads but they don't want to go to that expense right now since they may get word the line has finally been abandoned, allowing them simply to remove the old structures. Either way, several bridges along this RR are at great risk once the status of this RR line is resolved. This one, since it is a great example of a rural crossing over a century old, should be preserved, perhaps as part of the parkway expanding towards it both from the Little Blue River to the north, and Cedar Creek.


Unused closed-spandrel arch bridge over Chipman Road on Inactive Rock Island RR
Lee's Summit, Jackson County, Missouri
Rail line inactive. open as rail trail
Future prospects
Open as rail-to-trail
Built ca. 1904
- Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad (CRIP (1866-1920); RI (1920-1975) ROCK (1975-1980))
Since this was built over a road with fill to raise the rail bed, this is more of a culvert or bridge than tunnel but that's the local name.
Span length: 15.0 ft.
Total length: 15.0 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 11.0 ft.
Also called
RI - Chipman Road Tunnel
Approximate latitude, longitude
+38.92739, -94.43769   (decimal degrees)
38°55'39" N, 94°26'16" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/375378/4309701 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Lees Summit
Land survey
T. 47 N., R. 32 W., Sec. 3
810 ft. above sea level
Inventory number
BH 48880 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • October 12, 2016: New photos from John Marvig
  • August 19, 2016: Updated by Kelly McClanahan: Added category "MO Rock Island Rail Trail"
  • November 29, 2013: Updated by Clark Vance: Added category "Stoplight Controlled"
  • August 27, 2012: New photo from Clark Vance
  • August 10, 2012: Updated by Clark Vance: Added category "Railroad"
  • August 1, 2012: Updated by Luke Harden: Removed category "Rail-to-trail"
  • August 1, 2012: Updated by Max Johnson: Updated "status" and "future prospects"
  • March 26, 2012: Updated by Daniel Hopkins: Added category "Rail-to-trail"
  • March 23, 2012: Updated by Clark Vance: Added category "Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad"
  • March 22, 2012: New Street View added by Clark Vance
  • June 8, 2011: Added by Clark Vance

Related Bridges 


  • Clark Vance - cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com
  • John Marvig - marvigj27 [at] gmail [dot] com


Chipman Road Tunnel
Posted July 15, 2016, by John Marvig (marvigj27 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Newest plan is to remove it in 2018

Chipman Road Tunnel
Posted December 5, 2013, by Kelly McClanahan

Added a new catagory -- Doomed. From reading the Lee's Summit Capital Projects Plan, they are planing to remove the tunnel/bridge sometime between 2014/15.

Chipman Road Tunnel
Posted August 1, 2012, by Max

I Agree with Clark below. Currently, the rail-to-trail conversion of the Rock Island St. Louis subdivsion (this line) has only been approved from Windsor to Pleasant Hill Mo. Missouri Central railway (a side company of Ameren electric Co.) owns the line from the Lackland rail yard in St. Louis, and still operates trains as far west as Union Mo, but own the inactive section up until Pleasant Hill. Union Pacific still owns the other 12 miles of line thru Lee's Summit, Raytown and into the Leeds juntion where the line stops/begins. Missouri Central did a "deal" with the rail to trail people to allow them to build on top of the railbed, however that contract states that MC still owns the line and can convert back to rail use in the future (kind of a slick way for MC to have the trees cleared and railbed washouts fixed for free). While on that note, an organization called "Corridor to the Katy" has been hounding/pressing UP to sell the last 12 miles into KC for many years. In therory, UP has a couple good reasons not to sell, mainly because if Missouri Central ever does restore full thru rail service on the line, UP stands the risk of future competition with MC on KC-St. Louis train shipments. The other, is there has been talk of a "light rail" service to commute from the Katy trail "end" at Pleasant Hill, to the Arrowhead/Royal stadiums in KC, as the tracks right of way backs right up to the stadium property. This could be a good money maker for UP if it ever does become reality.

But chances are, the final 12 miles of line may never see a trail, much less a train again. As for the rest of the line from Windsor to Union Mo, i've not seen anything on rail to trail or train use yet, but that could still change.

Chipman Road Tunnel
Posted April 4, 2012, by Clark Vance (cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com)

I'd hesitate to add the rail-to-trail category. There's no officially designated trail nor is the right of way actually passable for much of its length. It's heavily overgrown and in some places washed out. There's been talk of making a trail here but it's still technically an inactive railroad and it may still be used again for rail traffic.