Rock Island Rail Corridor Authority

Rock Island Rail Corridor Authority
(RIRCA) Background Information

The Rock Island Rail Corridor Authority (RIRCA) was established to manage and maintain the Rock Island Corridor, which Jackson County acquired in the spring of 2016.

The RIRCA works on a variety of topics related to the Rock Island Corridor, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Corridor engineering and design
  • Legal and regulatory issues related to corridor real estate and property development
  • Corridor maintenance
  • Corridor safety
  • Communications
  • Branding regarding the corridor
  • Procuring federal funding
  • Administrative support

The 17.7-mile corridor stretches from Arrowhead and Kauffman Stadiums south through Raytown and into Lee's Summit. Transforming a portion of the Rock Island Corridor into a shared use path will commence immediately. Corridor planning and design will focus on preservation of the national rail network corridor’s integrity, most notably the railroad corridor’s unencumbered continuity, and on multi-modal transportation options as the corridor remains available for freight service.

Rock Island Trail

Phase One:
Construction on Phase One of the Rock Island Trail is complete. The trail is 6.5 miles long, beginning at Brickyard Road in Kansas City and ending at Jefferson Street in Lee’s Summit. There are two official trailheads: 98th street Trailhead (12600 E 98th Street KCMO 64138) and Hartman Park (700 SW Pryor Rd, Lee's Summit, MO 64081). The trail is now open to the public.

Phase Two:
Construction on Phase Two is expected to begin in the summer of 2019 and should take approximately a year and a half. We expect construction will be complete in late 2020 or early 2021. Phase two will take the Rock Island Trail all the way to the Truman Sports Complex. This phase will have three trailheads: Truman Sports Complex, Downtown Raytown and Woodson Road in Raytown. Phase Two is 7.1 miles long and when done, will create a 13.5 mile trail on the Rock Island Corridor.

Connecting to the Katy:
Soon, we hope to connect the Rock Island Trail to the Katy Trail. There is currently an eight mile gap between the southern end of the Rock Island and the MOPAC which connects to the Katy Trail at Pleasant Hill. We have called this project the Greenwood Connector as the trail connector would run right through Greenwood, MO. During 2017 and 2018 Jackson County convened a group of stakeholders to determine the best route through this challenging 8 mile gap. This work produced a conceptual plan that we have started to pursue. Since that time, Jackson County was granted some new federal funding that will allow us to build an additional 1.5 miles of trail past our current southern terminus. This project is expected to begin in 2020. We will continue to pursue new federal and other funding opportunities that could pay for this project, however this is likely to occur as a succession of small projects over a number of years.

Rock Island Trail Information and Map(PDF, 751KB)

Overview Map(PDF, 380KB)

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What was purchased from Union Pacific?

Jackson County purchased 17.7 miles of the Rock Island Railroad Corridor running from the Truman Sports Complex to southeastern Lee’s Summit for $50.1 million. Included in the purchase was the land itself, the value of having a contiguous corridor (immeasurable, difficult to assemble in any other way) and Union Pacific railroad rights on the corridor. The county purchased the corridor and rights in their entirety, meaning the corridor is still protected by federal laws as a railroad.

2. Who will manage the property?

The Jackson County Legislature has created and funded the Rock Island Railroad Corridor Authority (RIRCA) to manage the property. RIRCA will work in conjunction with the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority to manage the property and plan for the future of the multimodal transportation corridor.

3. How will the purchase be paid for?

Government bonds were issued to pay for the purchase. Jackson County and the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority will both be responsible for fifty percent of the bond repayment. Jackson County has allocated funds to pay the bonds, with no tax increase for residents.

4. What are the next steps along the corridor?

Survey work has already begun to allow the county to assess the full condition of the property. Once that assessment has been made, design work will commence. At the same time, the RIRCA expects to meet with local officials and residents to lay out plans for the corridor. Corridor planning and design will focus on preservation of the national rail network corridor’s integrity, most notably the railroad corridor’s unencumbered continuity, and on multi-modal transportation options as the corridor remains available for freight service.

5. When will a path be started / completed?

The county expects to begin shared use path construction in 2017 to be completed by late 2018 or early 2019.

6. How much will construction cost?

Estimates for the shared use path are about $1 million per mile, or $18 million. Jackson County already has $10 million in federal funds set aside and a $2.5 million dollar local match.

7. Will the shared use path connect to the Katy Trail?

Yes, eventually. The Rock Island State Park connecting the Katy Trail from Windsor to Pleasant Hill opened in December of 2016. Between Pleasant Hill and the end of our corridor is an area called the Greenwood Connector, this is between 5 and 11 miles depending on the chosen route. Discussions and plans are underway with various partners on closing this gap.

8. What type of mass transit will follow?

Jackson County and the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority will begin plans for some form of multi-modal transportation on the corridor. Various forms of mass transportation can be considered given the width of the corridor, and many options will be on the table.

9. When will mass transit be completed?

Multi-modal transportation options are still years off. Until a specific form is determined and costs are anticipated, and exact date is difficult to ascertain.

Shared Use Path Public Meeting Materials

Below are links to public meeting materials for both open houses. All links will open a new browser tab or window.

Rock Island Corridor Cultural Resources Review

Because the Rock Island Corridor Shared Use Path construction is Federally funded, the project team (led by TranSystems and Architectural and Historical Research, LLC) analyzed the historic and cultural resources within the project area (learn more about the historic preservation efforts required by Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act here). That analysis has been completed and reviewed by the Missouri State Historic Preservation Office (MoSHPO). We are interested in hearing your ideas about how to celebrate and share the history of the Corridor in Kansas City. To weigh in, please send us an email or call us at 816-503-4847. Below are links to reports and information generated for the historic and cultural resources review: