The Leavenworth, Pawnee and Western Railroad was initially authorized by the Kansas Legislature in 1855, and changed the name to the Union Pacific Eastern Division in 1863.
Construction began in Kansas City in September 1863. The original goal was to meet the Central Branch Union Pacific Railroad somewhere near Clay Center, Kansas.
In 1864, the first 40 miles of line between Kansas City and Lawrence was placed into operation. During the fall of 1866, the railroad extended again to Junction City, and reached Salina the following year.
The planners of the railroad realized it would be far more profitable to reach Denver instead of ending at the originally intended Fort Riley. Citizens lobbied heavily to extend the railroad even further west.
Reorganized as the Kansas Pacific, an extension towards Colorado began building west from Salina in 1869. When the railroad reached Kit Carson, Colorado the following year, the KP began building east from Denver. The two railroads met at Strasburg, Colorado in August 1870.
Because the western segment from Denver to Strasburg originally connected with another railroad, the meeting at Strasburg was the first time the east and west coast were connected by railroad, including a bridge over the Missouri River, which did not exist at that time in Omaha.
In 1874, Jay Gould gained control of the KP, and was reorganized as the Union Pacific Railroad. Other than track upgrades, the line saw little change since the 1870 connection.
Today, UP continues to operate the line in four subdivisions. The eastern portion of the Kansas Subdivision extends from Kansas City to Topeka, the Salina Subdivision extends from Topeka to Salina, the Sharon Springs Subdivision extends from Salina to Sharon Springs, and the Limon Subdivision extends from Sharon Springs to Denver.
This simple through girder bridge crosses Mud Creek at Fall Leaf, Kansas.
This bridge consists of a pair of through girder spans; one 84 feet long and one 60 feet long. these spans are set onto concrete substructures.
The bridge at this location was constructed during a time of double tracking for this Union Pacific mainline. The bridge is closely located to Alexander Road.
The author has ranked this bridge as being locally significant, due to the common nature of this bridge.
However, this should not detract from the fact that the bridge is still in great condition, and has a very good historical integrity.
The photo above is an overview.