Each year, the Katy Trail attracts 400,000 visitors along its 240-mile route from Clinton, Missouri, to Machens, Missouri, impacting the communities along its route. However, two old railroad bridges connecting the trail over Highway 50 in Sedalia, Missouri, were causing safety issues on the highway and on the trail, impacting the city and its visitors.
Pettis County, the City of Sedalia, Missouri Department of Transportation and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources partnered to address the issue and enlisted the help of McClure Engineering Company (MEC) to design a new bridge to improve the clearance over U.S. Highway 50.
“Safety was the primary benefit of the project,” said Brent Hampy, Eastern District Commissioner for Pettis County, adding that the bridge also impacted economic development. “Sedalia is growing, and we have to manage that growth. Infrastructure improvement is the number one way to accomplish that.”
MEC’s team provided the survey, design and construction observation for the project and assisted with the application for Federal Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) Grant that helped fund the project.
Prior to the project, the old railroad bridges had a clearance of 13’9″ and caused three major collisions each year for the past three years. The new bridge has a clearance of 18’10”, which no longer poses an issue for standard size trucks.
“On the Katy Trail, you know we have hundreds of culverts and dozens of bridges built in the railroad days, and we have to replace them,” said Jack Winburn, district supervisor with Missouri State Parks. “It’s great to see the benefits of the trail in these towns. Sedalia in particular is an up and coming city, and they have really embraced the trail.”
During the ribbon cutting on June 9, 2016, Hampy, Winburn and Sedalia Mayor Stephen Galliher each discussed the importance of the Katy Trail Overpass Bridge project prior to officially opening the bridge. Both Galliher and Winburn highlighted the partnership it took to complete the project.
“When it is all said and done, the project looks great and the problem is solved,” said Hampy.
MEC has also provided repairs for another former railroad bridge that is part of the Prairie Spirit in northern Anderson County, Kansas. The original bridge was a four-span, steel deck girder originally designed to carry railroad loads. MEC designed a 160-foot span to replace the two original center 80 foot spans that were washed away in a flood.