City files to pull KCS into lawsuit over bridge

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 3, 2000

An attorney for the City of Vicksburg has filed to have Kansas City Southern Railway included in pending litigation over the Fairground Street Bridge.

Bobby Robinson, one of the city’s three staff attorneys, filed the motion in Warren County Circuit Court to have the railroad company that owns the bridge named as a co-defendant in the case. In the court papers, the city alleges that KCS may be liable for any claims plaintiffs win against the city in litigation.

The future of the 105-year-old iron bridge at the foot of Fairground Street became an issue for the courts after Vicksburg residents Joe Strickland and James Hobson, who own the property adjacent to the bridge, filed a writ of mandamus July 11 to compel the city to reopen the bridge.

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Specifically, the property owners are seeking to have the courts force the city to enforce an 1895 agreement with the railroad. Under the agreement between the city and the railroad, the railroad company is responsible for maintaining the bridge over the rail yards.

The bridge was closed by the city in 1993 after a routine inspection revealed corrosion and deterioration that made it unsafe.

In the city’s response to the suit, the city asserts that it had a “discretionary duty” to close the bridge for public safety. In other court documents, the city states that it has advised the railroad of its duty to maintain the bridge.

It is listed in tour guides as a site and on the National Register of Historic Places as possibly the oldest bridge in the state.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Court Judge Isadore Patrick, but no hearing date has been set.