Long Abandoned Railway To Connect Kansas City To The Katy Trail | KCUR

Long Abandoned Railway To Connect Kansas City To The Katy Trail

Mar 1, 2015

The Rock Island Railroad trail will provide a direct connection between the Kansas City metro and the Katy Trail.
Credit MoBikeFed / Flickr-CC

A recent federal ruling will help connect the Kansas City metro to the Katy Trail. 

The Surface Transportation Board issued its decision Thursday to allow 144 miles of the Rock Island Railroad tracks to be used as a bike trail. The railroad hasn't been used for more than 30 years.

Once completed, it will create one of the longest cycling trail networks in the country. 

Eric Bunch of BikeWalkKC says the connection will be a boon for both Kansas City and the entire state. 

"The Katy Trail is a national treasure for our state," Bunch said. "Connecting that into Kansas City is going to be something that no one else in this country has."

Though cyclists will no doubt be thrilled by the prospect of a network of trails spanning across the state, the plan isn't without opponents. The Missouri Farm Bureau says that uprooting the railway will hurt farmers, who need access to land alongside the tracks.

The state also has to work out an agreement with energy company Ameren, which is donating the land for trail use.