The original Kate Shelley High Bridge was the highest double-track railroad bridge in the United States. It is located approximately 3 miles west of the city of Boone, Iowa. The bridge was designed by George S. Morison for the Chicago and Northwestern Railway and was constructed from 1899 to 1901. It stands 185 ft above the Des Moines River with a length of 2,685 ft. The bridge was renamed in 1912 to honor Kate Shelley.
The original double track bridge is aging and trains are subject to a slow order, reducing speeds to 25 mph while crossing it.
The new bridge took three years for construction and is slightly bigger than the old bridge. The new bridge spans 2,813 feet long and is now 190 feet high. The bridge is also designed for two trains to travel across it at the same time traveling 70 MPH. The new Kate Shelley bridge is part of a 2.6 billion dollar overall upgrade of the Union Pacific’s upgrade of the Iowa rail system.
When asked if the new bridge would still be named after Kate Shelley, Union Pacific CEO, Jim Young said "It is only fitting that the new bridge is given the name of the structure it replaced, Kate Shelley, to honor a person who helped save so many lives when she was able to help warn an oncoming passenger train that a bridge had washed out during a stormy night 1881,"