Bridge Opened on St. Louis-Kansas City Route

A new bridge on the Union Pacific route that hosts Amtrak’s Missouri River Runner trains opened today at Osage City, Mo.

Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Szabo, along with representatives of the Missouri Department of Transportation, UP, Amtrak and the contractor celebrated the opening of the $28 million 1,200-foot railroad bridge across the Osage River.

The project was finished ahead of schedule and under budget. The bridge ended a single-track bottleneck that had delayed Amtrak trains for years.

With the completion of the bridge, the route of the River Runners is now double-track between St. Louis and Kansas City, Mo.

“This new railroad bridge is yet another strategic investment in our rail infrastructure that will allow for higher performing passenger rail—while also laying a foundation to invest in faster, more frequent and even more reliable service, said Szabo. “It also advances the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative – a vision Missouri shares with eight other states to connect the Midwest’s 40 largest cities with high-performance passenger rail.”

The Missouri Department of Transportation had commissioned a study by the University of Missouri to determine where rail line capacity enhancements should be made to improve train velocity. The study helped MoDOT and Union Pacific’s engineering and network planning groups decide where to undertake capacity expansion projects across the 275-mile rail corridor.

According to MoDOT, 90 percent of the Missouri River Runner trains arrived on-time or ahead of schedule in fiscal year 2013. These same passenger trains were operating an average of 64 percent on-time in 2008. Subsequently, ridership has increased for six consecutive years to nearly 200,000 passengers.

MoDOT received a multimillion dollar award under the Recovery Act, which funded a majority of this project. Union Pacific provided the remainder of the project cost. The bridge was constructed by OCCI, Inc., of Fulton, Mo.

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