Location: S Ridgeview Road, between E Santa Fe Street and E Kansas City Road, Olathe, KS
Owner: City of Olathe (sculptures), BNSF (bridge)
Artist: Stan Herd (artist); Ochsner, Hare & Hare (bridge enhancement designers)
Dates: Dedicated April 11, 2008
In the mid-2000s, the City of Olathe and BNSF Railroad collaborated on the Olathe Rail Grade Separation project, also known as "Raise the Rail." This project was put in place in order to separate vehicular traffic from railroad traffic. Vehicular traffic was on the increase in Olathe, particularly between downtown Olathe and Interstate 35, and major backups would be caused when a train passed through town. The solution was to elevate the tracks above street grade, hence "Raise the Rail." A total of four railroad bridges were built as part of the project. The bridge that passed over Ridgeview Road, north of Santa Fe Street, was given an extra design element.
Renown artist Stan Herd, in association with the design firm Ochsner, Hare & Hare, designed the bridge rails for the bridge over Ridgeview Road. The rails are made out of the same type of steel as the bridge girders. They depict scenes of settlers, pioneers and environments that one might have found in this location during the days of westward expansion. Each rail is approximately 8 feet tall and 235 feet long. They honor Olathe's past while providing a decorative element to what could have been another "generic" railroad bridge.