Keokuk Could Sell Railroad Bridge

Keokuk, IA – Keokuk owns the railroad bridge that spans the Mississippi River near Lock and Dam 19. City employees open and close the bridge as needed.

Peoria-based Keokuk Junction Railway is the only company that uses the bridge. KJR has expressed an interest in purchasing the bridge from Keokuk.

Another potential buyer surfaced this week. A Chicago businessman has offered to purchase the bridge for $500,000. Craig Burroughs says he has been negotiating with the city for nearly one year.

Burroughs says he is interested in developing a railroad-related company in Keokuk. He says the bridge would be a key piece of infrastructure.

Keokuk Mayor Tom Marion says this is an offer Keokuk must consider.

"It is quite a drain on the city," says Marion, "we probably lose $100,000-$150,000 each year on the bridge. We will get out of the insurance that is required on the bridge and out of taxes on the Illinois side."

Burrough's offer would also give him access to a roughly $3.2-million demolition fund. He says the fund would always have enough money for demolition, with extra funds eligible for investment in other Keokuk operations.

Members of the city's bridge sub-committee expressed some surprise, during the March 4 meeting, that negotiations had come so far. The panel could meet as early as Wednesday, March 10 to discuss the offer.