The Sibley Bridge Company was chartered in 1888 to construct the large bridge across the Missouri River at Sibley. Similarly, the Mississippi River Railroad & Toll Bridge Company constructed the bridge across the Mississippi River.
The entire line became part of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway in 1900. This mainline would see heavy reconstruction throughout the first decade of the 20th century. Reconstruction included tasks such as relocation and double tracking.
The line was critical to the development of the State of Missouri. The line provided the quickest and most direct route between the agricultural center at Kansas City and Chicago.
Throughout the 20th Century, the line remained one of the most critical rail lines in the United States. The heavy duty mainline saw guards during World War II, due to the critical connection between Southern California and Chicago.
Despite the importance of the line, the ATSF would see serious financial issues in the late 20th century. Because of this, they merged with rival Burlington Northern to form BNSF Railway. BNSF currently operates the line as the Marceline Subdivision; and it is a part of the greater Southern Transcon Line; completed in 1908.
The line connects to the equally as important Chillicothe Subdivision on the east, and the Emporia Subdivision on the west.
Hidden on a back road of Carroll County was this gem of a bridge.
The medium sized pin connected Pratt Through Truss once crossed the BNSF mainline near Bosworth. It was built using a former railroad bridge, which was decked and used for road use.
It is unknown where this bridge originally came from. It is possible it was moved from nearby, or it could have come from an entirely different state. Missouri bridge records indicate a date of approximately 1895 for this bridge, although it is unknown if that is accurate.
An identical bridge exists over this same mainline in Jackson County, and also carries road traffic. The author is unsure if this means these structures were once part of the same bridge, or if it was a standard plan for railroad bridge.
The bridge here is was single span, 9-panel pin connected Pratt Through Truss. The portal bracings of this bridge suggest Edge Moor Bridge Works; although this has not been confirmed. An inventory of historic Missouri bridges suggested this builder. The bridge sat on concrete substructures.
It appears that the floor was rebuilt to be more appropriate for wagon and later automobile traffic. Santa Fe records indicate this could have happened in 1929, when the deck was rebuilt.
Unfortunately, the bridge was removed and replaced with a new bridge in the fall of 2020. In previous inspections, the bridge had an above average rating for its age and design, leading to questions on why the bridge was replaced.
The author would have liked to have seen the bridge be reused as a trail or on a private drive, but it does not appear to have happened.
The author has ranked the bridge as being regionally significant, due to the historic age of the bridge, as well as the repurposing of a railroad bridge.
The photo above is looking west across the bridge.