KCS 63rd Street Viaduct

Deck Plate Girder Viaduct over 63rd Street Trafficway
Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name KCS 63rd Street Viaduct
Built By Kansas City Southern Railway
Contractor (Superstructure) Unknown
Contractor (Substructure) List Construction Company of Kansas City
Currently Owned By Kansas City Southern Railway
Length 875 Feet Total, 75 Foot Main Spans
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 120 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Deck Girder Viaduct
Substructure Type Concrete and Steel Tower
Date Built 1928
Traffic Count 12 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
Significance Local Significance
Documentation Date October 2016
In January of 1891, the Kansas City, Fort Smith & Southern Railroad began construction of a 45 mile segment of line from Grandview, Missouri to the Marais des Cygnes River at Amoret, Missouri.
Later in 1891, another 12 miles to Hume, Missouri would be opened. Another 99 miles would be opened to Joplin, Missouri by 1893. The line would continue south from this location the next year.
The new route left Grandview and headed straight south, along the Kansas/Missouri border. It would be acquired by the Kansas City, Pittsburg and Gulf Railroad in 1893.

The route connected into Kansas City via a portion of the Kansas City Suburban Belt Railway that was constructed in 1877. The Kansas City & Independence Air Line would complete the connection in 1892.

In 1900, the Kansas City Southern Railway would be born through the combination of several companies, including those above.
The KCS was a well funded and constructed railroad, with track extending from Kansas City to the Gulf of Mexico. The line was heavily rebuilt in the first decade of the 20th century.

One of the major issues for the railroad was between Leeds (now part of Kansas City) and Grandview. The railroad followed the Blue River in a deep gorge, which oftentimes meant large grades and floods.
To counter this, the Kansas City and Grandview Railway was formed in 1923. Controlled by the KCS, the road sought to rebuild the mainline track between Leeds (now Kansas City) and Grandview.

Upon completion in 1929, the line was a success. Featuring massive bridges and deep cuts, the route proved to be an operational dream.
The line also helped the KCS economically, and improved their outlook during the Great Depression.

The KCS has had little changes since 1929. After the opening of the new track and route, the old line was sold to the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway (Frisco). Frisco and successor Burlington Northern operated the line until the construction of the interstates through the area.
In 2017, the Kansas City-Joplin line is the mainline of the KCS, providing connections to the south and the east. It continues to see a steady traffic base.

View an article regarding the construction of this realignment.

While this bridge is larger than the Blue Parkway Viaduct or the Gregory Boulevard Viaduct, it does not see the same fame that these two viaducts brought to the region.
This bridge consists of numerous deck girder spans, which are supported on steel towers. These towers are supported by concrete substructures.
The steel viaduct is a simple and economical design to cross a large ravine. Unlike the other two massive viaducts nearby, this bridge originally was built to cross the ravine of a small creek.
The reasoning behind such a simple economical design instead of the signature concrete arches is simple. This viaduct would not be seen in the public eye.
That is, until 63rd Street was built underneath. This critical through route is a divided highway at this location.
This structure is 875 feet long and 120 feet high. The 17 spans (9 main spans and 8 tower spans) are considerably less notable than the nearby viaducts.

Despite the assessment that this bridge is not as significant, it is an eye catching structure to those who travel on 63rd Street.
Fortunately, the structure is also in good condition. Many of the structures along this cutoff are in good condition as well. At least two spans were replaced in 2020.
The author has ranked this bridge as being locally significant, due to its less signature design and newer age.
The photo above is an overview. The author hopes to return for more photos soon.

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