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Jeff City bridge

I am planning to bike from Columbia to the Amtrak station in Jeff City. How exactly do I get to the bikeway on the northbound side of the bridge? Isn't that what I have to do?
posted Jan 11 2007 11:54AM - ET, Columbia

When you get into the North Jefferson TH just follow the signs into JC. When you get to the ball fields, ride up onto the highway and head west. When you on the west side of Highway 63, turn right (north) and follow the exit ramp onto the shoulder of north bound Highway 63. You will cross the bridge on the west side which is the northbound lane. It may seem scary riding on the "wrong" side and against traffic, but it takes only a few minutes and the traffic is advised of the bike lane and I have found people to drive quite courtesously and safely.
posted Jan 11 2007 7:35PM - Arkie, Fort Smith

This is just my opinion so you can do what you want but....

After making that trip one time I decided I would never do it again. For about $25.00 you
can call a cab with a bike rack to take you inside of town.

Keep in mind that I commute around 3k a year and ride around 5k. I have ridden all
across the state and have traveled hundreds of miles on 4 lane roads. That bridge is the
worst thing I have come across. As I was walking my bike against traffic I had the pleasure
of a dump truck driver swerve over and almost hit the guard rail right in front of me. I had
to decide right then if I should jump over the bridge and into the river or not. Basically I
didnt have time to do anything anyway and he finally realized he was off the road and
jerked the giant truck away just in time.

I make it a point not to spend 1 cent of my money in Jefferson City. The people of Jeff City
should of never allowed the bridges to be constructed in that manner.
posted Jan 14 2007 5:24PM - Robert, Columbia

As you say you are welcome to your opinion, but I think you might overstate the case. I am financially able to spend $25 for a shuttle; others aren't. As to the citizens of Jefferson City, you can't blame them for the bridge lacking a proper bike lane. The bridge was constructed with federal funds under the administration of the the Missouri Department of Transportation (MODOT). The Katy Trail didn't exist at the time of planning, nor did anyone ever suspect that it would. I think that MODOT has done a marvelous job of providing a solution to crossing the bridge without wasting taxpayer dollars.
posted Jan 14 2007 5:30PM - Arkie, Fort Smith

Right on Arkie! I've ridden the bridge at Jefferson City and at Hermann. And, yes, it's just my opinion....but neither is as bad as some let on.

I have witnessed crashes.....bike to bike on the Katy many times though. And I had a very close encounter with a deer north of Pilot Grove last summer that put far more fear into me than either bridge.
posted Jan 14 2007 7:07PM - Trek Biker, St. Joseph, MO

I think it was a waste of taxpayers money to build any bridge without adequate bike/ped
crossings. If you are going to spend millions of a new bridge why not spend a few % more
and make it work for a lot more people.

Here in Columbia the city has stood up against modot on a few issues and has come out
on top. One example is a hideous street that runs north and south through town. Modot
decided that they would expand the street to 4 lanes but wouldnt add any "extras" like
bike lanes or sidewalks. The city threw a bit of a fit and after deciding to pitch in a few
million dollars got their way. So I sort of do think that its a lack of citizen input that
results in many of these inadequate infrastructure that is built only for cars.

I appreciate your comment about many not having the cab fare. Indeed there are many in
our society without much money. That is why it is so critical to build bridges with ped and
bike crossing available on them. When you build a bridge like the ones that cross the mo
river you are essentially telling 99% of the population that they can cross in a automobile
or they can stay at home.

IMO, The herman bridge is far better since cyclists are forced to "take the lane" while you
are forced to ride against traffic on the shoulder of the one at Jeff City with no possibilty of
escape if motorists are not paying attention. I dont think lowering the speed limit to 35
mph would be too bad of a decision either.

Again, I am not saying I am correct but I am a pretty experience commuter and also a
League Certified Cycling Instructor.

posted Jan 16 2007 9:50AM - Robert, Columbia

You are still missing the point. The darn bridge was built before the Katy Trail existed! Why in the world would anyone build a bike lane from one side of the river to another when there was no bike traffic? Not only was there no bike traffic, the whole Rails to Trails program had never been conceived. I am a civil engineer and have spent my career working on infrastructure. You don't build things without a purpose. To have built a bike lane on that bridge would have made about as much sense as building a heliport on the side of the bridge in case someone might want to land a Chinook while on a fishing trip.
posted Jan 16 2007 10:16AM - Arkie, Fort Smith

What Arkie?? You don't already have a flux capacitor on your steed?

Standard equipment on a Trek for the past 88 years! And when ya hit 88 miles an hour......testosterone city!!
posted Jan 16 2007 10:38AM - Trek Biker, St. Joseph, MO

I'm sorry Arkie, you are missing the point. IMHO, all bridges should have facilities to accomodate bike/ped. MoDOT (that T stands for transportation) shouldn't spend 100% of its funds on a single mode of transportation. If it's not safe/reasonable to ride in traffic, then some means should be provided to ride separate from motor vehicles. Many millions of dollars goes into the contruction of any bridge or mile of freeway. When constructed, those facilities are always designed for some (ususally self-fulfilling) future growth. The marginal cost of accomodating that growth is probably on par with accomodating bike/ped.

If bike/ped were on this bridge before the KATY trail, it would have still facilitated riding on MO-94 and any number of rural roads in the MO bottoms.

Before this bridge was built, there is no traffic. Bike or otherwise.

Note that NE 96th Street overpass of I-435 in Kansas City was built YEARS before there was so much as a gravel road approaching either side of the overpass.
posted Jan 16 2007 12:41PM - Nails


I ride thousands of miles a year for transportation and very few of them are on the katy

So the very idea of the "damn trail" makes little sense to me. The highway is and can be
used by bicycles and so bridges should be built with that in mind. To build a bridge only
for cars in this day and age is so irresponsible and short sided that it should not be
tolerated by the public IMO.

Should people only ride their bikes on the trail? Are you one of those guys who yell out
their pickup truck window at me?

True Story. One day I was riding my bike and pulling my cargo trailer right in front of the
local walmart. Some redneck yells at me out his truck window, "stay on the katy trail!"

posted Jan 16 2007 1:15PM - Robert, Columbia


I enjoy the conversation. I think I meant "short sighted." Keep that in mind as you read it.

see ya,

posted Jan 16 2007 1:18PM - Robert, Columbia

In the manufacturing world....product is made to fit the masses. From an engineering and production standpoint, it is not cost effective to produce "custom options." But there can be money in it with a much higher cost to the buyer.

It seems that in most cases, the masses don't like to have their tax rate inflated to fund custom options for a few. So as it goes, older bridges have no pedestrian/bike lane and some newer ones in strategic locations do.

All bridges should have facilities to accomodate bike/ped. There should be a chicken in every pot. There should be no downtowns that need an economic boost because urban sprawl.....and so on and so on. But wants to pay for all of it?

Thousands of miles riden on a bike as transportation equates to lost state revenue in gas tax for road construction. Just brainstorming here and partialy in jest, but if you ride thousands of miles a year and want a bike lane on every overpass how do you propose to make up for the lost revenue?
posted Jan 16 2007 2:29PM - Trek Biker

Most educated types believe that the automobile culture is heavily subsidized. You can
read this to see if you agree.


Of course there is the billions that the government pays out in entitlements to obese
peoples medical problems and "disability payments."

Iran and other terror types also get their main sources of income from oil revenues.

Gas consumption is hardly self sustaining. In fact by me not paying gas taxes I am
probably contributing to the overall picture and not leeching from it.

One final point is that there is a lot of road construction that is funded from sales tax.
Lots of local street projects here in columbia are funded that way. So I contribute quite a
bit to the revenue base and certainly do not detract from it as much as some full time

posted Jan 16 2007 3:09PM - Robert, Columbia

Very true....overall by you not paying gas taxes you probably are contributing to the overall picture. But that's soft money that you are probably helping save the world with. At the end of the day when the money bag is taken to the bank what is in it is based on the number of customers who put real money in the bag. Quantifiable dollars spend far better than speculation.

From MODOT's website: MoDOT's principal sources of state revenue are motor vehicle fuel taxes, licenses and fees and part of one-half of the motor vehicle sales tax.
posted Jan 16 2007 4:58PM - Trek

Well if anyone hopes to reduce our dependence on oil and the automobile then our only
hope is to build bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. Taxing bicycle use to pay for this
would hardly be benificial so I suppose bikes and peds dipping out of the gas tax will have
to do. There are lots of little things that MODOT can do that helps bicycles but adds
nothing to the cost of the roads. For example when I ride from Columbia to Kirsksville on
63 highway there is one town north of moberly that has probably 50 tire eating grates
right in the gutter pan and no shoulder. Not exactly easy biking. If modot or that city
would of used better judgement those could of been bicycle safe grates and it would not
of cost 1 cent more. I am sure that the thought of bicycle using highway 63 for travel
never occured to them. I am not trying to be judgemental of MODOT in fact things have
gotten much better there. They recently hired a bike/ped coordinator and she has been
working really hard to make those guys realize that there are thousands of missourians
who use bicycles for transportation. Some use them by choice and some do not but we all
deserve at least some reasonably safe place to ride.

In the last national transportation bill that was passed bike and ped issues accounted for
around 1/2 of 1% of the total bill. That was passed during a period of record oil prices
and that was by far the most non motorized money that was ever passed. That just goes
to show you that bike/ped issues arent exactly robbing anyone blind.
posted Jan 16 2007 8:24PM - Robert, Columbia

Well this has been interesting to say the least. I generally disagree with nothing that has been posted here except for Robert's righteous indignation that the planners who designed the bridge were not capable of mind-reading and that he wants to penalize the citizens of Jefferson City for something for which they had no responsibility. That is a typical reaction from someone who is unhappy because life has not turned out as they wish. The bridge is there with the best means of crossing that MODOT could offer. People can bellyache and whine as much as they wish and the bridge will still be there with a bikelane. I would suggest that you enjoy the trail for the marvelous creation that it is. When we tried to create something similar down here the farmers and landowners revolted by burning all of the trestles before anything could be done. The government leaders decided that the cycling public was just as extreme as the landowners and washed their hands of the whole project. I would suggest that extreme positions and name-rockthrowing do nothing to ever further anyone's cause. I offer Washington D.C. as a perfect example.
posted Jan 17 2007 10:35AM - Arkie, Fort Smith

Some redneck yells at me out his truck window, "stay on the katy trail!"

Ahhhh....Redneck.....just about the only stereotype left that people feel comfortable uttering in public.
posted Jan 17 2007 2:30PM - Jim, St. Thomas

I think this conversation just ended. Personal attacks do that every time.

Ask yourself this question, if you lived on one side of the river and worked on the other
would you feel comfortable letting your kids, your spouse and yourself ride that twice a

posted Jan 17 2007 4:10PM - Robert, Columbia

I'm not certain of my history, but I'm pretty sure that the second bridge was built after the Katy Trail was in place, and the calls for bike/ped facilities were ignored. Hermann is going to get those faci lities on their new bridge (and I think the cost of those extras is minimal compared to the total cost of this kind of project), and I'm sure that they are going to see a significant tourism boost as a result that Jeff City will miss out on. But thanks for the info!
posted Jan 17 2007 7:38PM - ET, Columbia

The only attack I intend is that you are still missing the point. You can't expect planners designing a bridge more than 40 years ago to have considered a bike lane. I have no quarrel with any of the remainder of your argument. Bike travel is efficient, fun and should be promoted. I have to tell you that picking on the citizens of JC for a bridge they neither asked for, designed nor paid for is the worst sort of abuse. Why should you boycott a whole city for a supposed sin they didn't commit? It makes about as much sense as me blaming the stink of the Columbia treatment plant on the citizens of Columbia and demanding that they not be allowed to have bowel movements in the future. As to being a redneck what can I say. Born in Missouri. Reared in Missouri. Received three college degreees in Missouri. When I unfortunately had to move, one of my colleagues observed that one move was responsible for raising the IQ in two states. This nonsense all aside, the thread has been interesting, but I believe the whole point was to assist ET in finding a way to cross the bridge to JC. I believe my description was accurate and I hope thye found it useful. The rest is worth what they paid for it.
posted Jan 17 2007 7:39PM - Arkie, Fort Smith

Having lived in Jeff City, it is my personal observation that most (not all) of the citizens
don't care one iota about whether there is a bike/ped crossing across the river or not.
When I lived in Jeff City just a few years ago, I was amazed at the large numbers of people
who did not know the Katy Trail passed through (well, almost through) Jeff City)...lots of
people had either never heard of the Trail or maybe had heard of it, but didn't know where
it was. Also, Jeff City is not a very bike friendly town...most people I encountered think of
bike riding as something that kids do...not an activity for adults and certainly not a means
of transportation...i.e., the local bike shop there told me that I should "practice" riding on
the Greenway before I considered riding anyplace else in Jeff City because "it was pretty
far"...at the time it was almost 3 whole miles...and I was averaging about 150 miles a week
before I moved there (and, no, I did not ride back and forth on those 3 miles to keep up
my weekly average!). In other places where there have been bridges built with bike lanes
(like in Booneville) it was because the citizenry wanted it and was vocal about it...I don't
think the Jeff City citizenry will come together on this issue and no matter how much other
people think it is a good idea...getting the folks in Jeff City to support it will be a
challenge. Personally, I think any bridge in Missouri built across the river should be as
accessible as it can be because in most of Missouri (Kansas City included), the river is a
HUGE divide ... I mean outside of KC and St. Louis...there are only about 4 or 5 bridges
across the river...STATEWIDE. So, write those letters to MODOT and let's see what
happens! Okay, stepping off the soapbox now.
posted Jan 17 2007 10:33PM - sbikes, Kansas City

"You can't expect planners designing a bridge more than 40 years ago to have considered a bike lane."
The current northbound span opened in 1991.
The KATY trail was land banked in 1987.

"I have to tell you that picking on the citizens of JC for a bridge they neither asked for, designed nor paid for is the worst sort of abuse."
All politics are local. If JC hasn't worked to accomodate Robert's mode of transportation, why should he risk his life to spend his money in JC?

I'm going out on a limb here, but gas taxes should be treated like other sin taxes (e.g. tabacco and alcohol). You shouldn't expect the government to provide services to match the tax paid. Rather, the tax should act as an incentive to discourage its use. There's only so much gas and when it's gone it's gone (but there's plenty for me), we get a lot of it from regimes that don't care for us, there's all those saving the planet issues, and the 40,000+ people that die each year in motor vehicle accidents (is it 1M+ injured?). I know the results of Amendment 3 in 2004 puts me in the minority. Long story, but I think there's finally some momentum for revesing the general thinking that we have should drive a single occupancy vehicle for everything we do outside of the home and it's the government's duty to accomodate this thinking.
posted Jan 18 2007 7:20AM - Nails

(Thanks Raymaster for posting the 1st 80% of my rant. Now I'll finish to get over the 3K limit. I promise I'll post no more in this thread.)

Back to the tax pool issue. Yeah, I probably pay less in fuel taxes than most. I looked up my 2K5 MO income tax liability. In spite of my best efforts to defer and shelter my income, at well over $4K, that's more than most. I know MoDOT doesn't list income taxes as a source of revenue, but if you follow my sin tax argument, you'll understand that I look at this pool of money a little different. Note that MoDOT does a little slight of hand by slipping in the words "State revenue". A huge portion of MoDOT's funds are received from the federal government. Trust me, I'm in a much higher percentile of tax liablity on the federal level than the state level. I think I didn't look that number up because I didn't want to make myself ill.

Anyhow, I'm a long ways from the KATY. I'm looking forward to it warming up so I can get back to it.
posted Jan 18 2007 9:34AM - Nails

Regardless of taxes you have to make roadways usable for everyone.

Here in Columbia we have many, many streets without sidewalks. This makes people
either have to walk in the street or through peoples yards to travel. One thing that just
makes me sick is seeing the same guy with a "vietnam veteran" hat and no legs riding his
wheelchair through the grass on Rangeline street. By grass I mean ditch.

So when the MODOT spokesman was on the local new channel saying that they were short
of funds so there wouldnt be any "extras" on rangleline like bike lanes or sidewalks it
really upset me. They somehow had the money to build 2 additional auto lanes yet
couldnt concieve building a sidewalk for our kids, disabled citizens and anyone else who
just didnt care to drive that day.
posted Jan 18 2007 9:47AM - Robert, Columbia

Here in KC there is much public support and momentum that has gotten MoDOT to consider
changing their plans for rebuidling the Paseo bridge so that there is a bike lane (this is one of
the main bridges in Missouri that is I-29/I-35). However, the official was quoted in the KC
Star as saying that they only had so much money and if they could spend the money on
either the bike lane or the "beautification" of the bridge, but not both and thought the money
was better spent on "beautification" because it is better to have a bridge that looks really
good than to have one that is useful and functional...I could make a sexist comment here,
but I won't.... LOL So, it is politics...but make your voice heard to the people making the
decisions and do what you can to make a difference. Sharon
posted Jan 18 2007 6:29PM - sbikes, Kansas City

I agree with those of you who say jeff city is not a bike friendly town. I don't think I would dare cross that bridge in a bike, and I've ridden my bike in st.louis traffic! I live on a somewhat busy street in jeff and when I walk my daughter or ride my bike people look at me as saying "what the hell is she doing,exercising?" People that I talk to can't believe I walk my daughter(when the weather is nice) to school, which is only 3 MILES away! Jeff city is a interesting town, I don't mean that in a good way.
posted Feb 1 2007 2:33PM - stephanie, jefferson city

The bike lane on the JC bridge is not ideal, but it is adequate. It's a little spooky after spending several days on the trail where you barely even see any motor vehicles to suddenly be on the interstate, but we got over the bridge just fine.

posted Feb 8 2007 2:52PM - Anonymous

Some call me crazy, but in decent weather I commute over this bridge every day. In fact I ride into Jeff City on the 'wrong' side of the highway from about 1 mile north of the Katy Trail. The scariest part for me is not the bridge nor the drivers within Jefferson City -- it's the drivers who've just come across the bridge, out of town and are taking the 63 North ramp. At 70 MPH. Frequently diving for said ramp from the left lane at the last minute. At 70 MPH. Tailgating each other like crazy.

While you're on the bridge it's really not bad at all. If you stay on the downriver shoulder as advised above, not only is the shoulder fairly wide, but the lane closest to the shoulder is one that almost everyone on the bridge is trying to get out of since it's the exit only lane for Cedar City.

I am sorry Robert had the incident w/dump truck that he had, but inattentive drivers are everywhere and if they give you no time to react, it doesn't matter whether you have any room to react. As I mentioned, most of the traffic on the bridge is trying to move (left) out of the right lane.
posted Feb 25 2007 5:37PM - Jon, Callaway County MO

Meant to put in prior comment - staying downriver on bridge almost always means you are upwind of traffic - no side gusts as the big vehicles go by.

Also regarding the other vehicles -- at least while you are on the bridge, so are they and you don't have to worry about entrance/exit ramps. If the exit for 63N was closer to the bridge I'd be in trouble.

Last but not least, vehicle tie-ups which bring motorized traffic on the bridge to a standstill are not uncommon. That's when riding a bike across the bridge is the MOST fun!
posted Feb 25 2007 5:45PM - Jon, Callaway County MO

Sorry to see some of the negative comments about Jeff City because of the bridge. My son and I crossed the bridge last summer and yes it gives you a little hesitation but it isn't really as bad as it is made out to be. My overall experience has been that drivers in Missouri are generally very courteous and don't seem to be in a rush and have a healthy respect of others on the road. Most of the autos passing us steered wide of us - there were no "looks" or intimidation going on. As with most anything you do - use some common sense and follow the rules of the road.
posted Mar 9 2007 8:20PM - Jack, Los Angeles

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