Just before 7 p.m., Tuesday night the Southern Norfolk Railroad bridge at Brunswick was washed away in rising floodwaters.

Just before 7 p.m., Tuesday night the Norfolk Southern Railroad bridge at Brunswick was washed away in rising floodwaters.

Brunswick’s Emergency Management Director, Brent Dickerson said railroad crews were out working to remove debris from along the bridge when it washed away.

“Railroad employees were out there working to remove debris that were floating down in the floodwaters,” he said. “They had just cut the rails on each side of the bridge when the waters took the bridge due to the heavy debris.”

The Grand River rose 20 feet on Sunday at Sumner and more than five feet at Brunswick following heavy rains Saturday. The same storm is
causing the Missouri River to rise above flood stage throughout Central Missouri.

He said that the rails were cut in an effort to minimize damage to the rails. “It could have really damaged miles of rails had the pressure continued to put a strain on them,” Dickerson said Wednesday morning.

A Facebook video shows the bridge starting to sway, rails curling and then the bridge succumbing to the fast-moving waters. Three spans of the 103-year-old bridge were taken out by the waters.

Dickerson said the bridge washed south down the Grand River.

At that time Brunswick area officials along with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) chose to close the Brunswick river access, which is maintained through a cooperative effort with MDC and the City of Brunswick.

“It was a wall of water and debris that swept the bridge away. And our fear was there were boaters out on the water, and in an effort to keep everyone safe and away from debris, we closed the access,” Dickerson said. “We just do not know what the river’s current conditions are due to the bridge washing away.”

The river access was still closed at 11 a.m., Wednesday, as officials monitored the situation.

“At this point, we know there is more rain coming and than means more flooding,” Dickerson said. “We do not want people out looking at the bridge from the water, for their safety.”

Later Tuesday night, Norfolk Southern posted an advisory on its website that train service had been suspended between Moberly and Kansas City.

“Norfolk Southern is actively pursuing detour options; however, until service is restored through Brunswick … all trains operating to and from Kansas City will incur transit delay,” the advisory said.

In another statement released Wednesday morning, the railroad said its engineering department was working to restore the train service; however, efforts have been slowed due to the rising of the Grand River.

Dickerson said the bridge was in good repair and noted the railroad “did a great job maintaining it.”

Norfolk Southern Railroad said any items being delivered through their rail system between Kansas City and Moberly would be delayed several days.

Video footage can be found online at https://www.facebook.com/mitch.adams.758/videos/1421517684665532/.