The city of Chillicothe is considering the removal of a potentially hazardous railroad bridge over Muddy Creek south of Wheeling.
The city of Chillicothe is considering the removal of a potentially hazardous railroad bridge over Muddy Creek south of Wheeling. The bridge is considered unsafe to travel across and creates a damming effect for property owners from debris that has backed up due to the bridge’s low height and pilings being close together. The bridge was part of the railroad property which the city purchased several years ago. The railroad, often referred to as the Shortline Railroad, extended from Chillicothe to Brunswick and has not be used for many years. City Administrator Darin Chappell stated that the rails and decking have been removed but the steel structure of the bridge remains. Concerns from adjoining property owners recently were brought to the city’s attention. “The bridge, when it was constructed was not constructed high enough to accommodate for all the debris that comes down,” Chappell said. “There are enormous tree trunks, branches, and stumps.” Over a period of years, it has caused lot of backflow, resulting in flooded farmland. Chappell said that farmers have offered to clear the debris but that would be just a temporary fix. Rails to trails supporters would like the city to maintain the bridge; however, such action is not financially feasible at this time, Chappell said. He noted that even if a bridge was to be constructed for rails to trails, the existing bridge would need to be removed anyway to allow for the flow of debris. The railroad board has recommended that the bridge be removed. The city will check with the Army Corps of Engineers and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources before any action is taken. The city will explore options, stating that reclamation companies might want to remove the bridge in exchange for the bridge’s steel. “Barring any problems, we will be looking for ways to remove the structure,” Chappell said.