Missouri State Parks has announced plans for a new bridge on the Rock Island Spur of the KATY Trail at the Pleasant Hill Trailhead, named the Ted and Pat Jones Bridge. The over $3M bridge was made possible from a generous donation from the Ted Jones Trust. The bridge plans are awaiting final approval from the Union Pacific Railroad before construction can begin.
The bridge eliminates a temporary on-road trail alignment and removes two at-grade rail crossings, making the trail safer and more convenient for families and trail riders. “The new Ted and Pat Jones Bridge at Pleasant Hill will be one of the final links of the cross-state trail system that attracts visitors worldwide,” David Kelly, Director of State Parks said.” Work continues between the City of Pleasant Hill and Jackson County Parks and Recreation to connect the existing Rock Island Trail systems..
“Ted Jones wanted to not only give cyclists and walkers a path through Missouri but he wanted to reinvigorate and bring life and more business to places like Pleasant Hill and dozens of other small communities along the trail,” said Dan Burkhardt, an executor of the Ted Jones Trust. Highlighting the prominence of the nation’s longest continuous rail-trail, he continued, “Right now, there is someone in every state and some in other countries, that are thinking about taking a ride on the KATY Trail. That is a fact. People come to this place specifically to ride the Trail. When they do it and pass through Pleasant Hill, this gift is going to make that ride a lot more fun.”
Mayor John King spoke at the April 29th ceremony, highlighting the importance of the trail for Pleasant Hill. “This trailhead – the trail – means so much to us. Not just Pleasant Hill but also the community of bike riders who come through here from all over the state. All you have to do is drive through our downtown, the Fairgrounds, and areas around and you can see how much a project like this means to a community.”
The announcement was made as part of the celebration of the 33rd anniversary of the KATY Trail. Volunteers from the community and employees with Edward Jones Investments planted 33 native Missouri trees at the Trailhead and adjacent Cass County Fairgrounds.