A ceremonial groundbreaking was held Thursday for long-awaited repairs that will begin for the historic Devil’s Elbow Bridge in Devil’s Elbow, Mo., according to a blog entry in the Waynesville Daily Guide.
The truss bridge was built in 1923, making it predate the commissioning of Route 66 by at least three years. Because a curved approach made it difficult for large military trucks, Route 66 was rerouted in 1942 away from the village. The rerouting probably lengthened the bridge’s life span because it dramatically dropped traffic volume there.
The article rightly gave a lot of the credit to the bridge’s future revitalization to Pulaski County commissioner Bill Farnham:
He praised the bridge for the thousands of visitors that it brings to Pulaski County annually. Mr. Farnham’s tenacity, persistence, and doggedness was key to this renovation project moving forward.
Gary Bockman of the Great River Associates architectural firm in Springfield, Mo., also revealed interesting aspects about the project:
He spoke about the attention to detail of the historic characteristics that will be carried throughout the project. An example is that Missouri Department of Transportation has given the go ahead to the decking material to contain materials that would match the look and feel of the original, vintage Route 66 pavement that is in the Devils Elbow area.
Tommy Pike of the Route 66 Association of Missouri also attended the ceremony. The event ended in this way:
Unofficially, the ceremony ended as the gathered crowd milled around in conversation and people broke off to walk across the bridge that is so near and dear to their hearts. They admired the views, took snapshots, and ran their hands across the steel bridge railings, literally touching the bridge that has touched their lives in so many memories. They said a temporary good bye to a very familiar friend and smiled approval of its new future.
Funds for the repair project will come from the Federal Highway Administration, Missouri Department of Transportation, National Park Service, Department of Housing and Urban Development, United States Department of Agriculture and Pulaski County Commission. The project will take an estimated 10 months.