In 2008 there was a near collision on the railroad crossing in Cardy, a town near La Plata. So the Missouri Department of Transportation called the Macon County Commissioners requesting approval for crossing gates at that intersection. The cost? Approximately $525,000. Commissioners Jon Dwiggins, Alan Wyatt and Drew Belt put their heads together and came up with a solution. They built a quarter mile of road, paid for by the BNSF railway, running vertical to the tracks to close the crossing altogether and used the funds toward another project—a bridge.
There is currently a bridge on Bayport Road in Ethel that Commissioner Alan Wyatt says dates back approximately 100 years. It can hold a car or truck, but can not sustain the weight of a school bus or anything heavier.
"The school bus was having to drive around several miles to pick up kids because the could not go over this bridge safely," said Wyatt. "The new bridge will have no problem at all for school buses. It has no limit."
The new bridge, which will be completed anywhere between 60 to 90 days, was funded by the BNSF railway, MoDOT and Macon County.
"In exchange for the road we built, MoDOT transferred their funds into an account and the BNSF pledged $500,000 for the bridge," said Dwiggins. "So when we are done, we will have a bridge that costs $1.1 million and have it for about $100,000 out of county money."
Once the new bridge is complete, BNSF railway will get rid of the old bridge. Additionally, the new bridge will be turned over to the county.
"It is an example of how things should work," said Dwiggins. "All of us are working together to solve a problem and everyone is contributing what they can. It has really worked out great."
According to Dwiggins, Cheryl Townlian with BNSF railway, said this is the first time in the system that shows the railway doing any project like this.
"It is quite an accomplishment," said Wyatt. "It's an example of everyone doing what they are good at. We are coming out in pretty good shape."
So in a way, this bridge seems to be bridging the gap between the county, MoDOT and the railway.