The rehabilitation of the historic Devil’s Elbow Bridge on old Route 66 in Devil’s Elbow is proceeding smoothly and will reopen to traffic by August at the latest, according to a report in the Rolla Daily News.
The newspaper included a photo of the work being done on the bridge. It added:
According to the HAER Bridge Inventory, a list of historic bridges in Missouri, the Devil’s Elbow Bridge may be eligible for a place on the National Register of Historic Places. It is believed to be one of the earliest examples of Missouri State Highway Department long-span truss design still in existence.
Additionally, Newkirk noted it is also one of only two remaining bridges in the state containing a curve. The second is the Chain of Rocks Bridge in St. Louis, which was recently converted to a pedestrian bridge. Wiles added that it is the only curved bridge on the original Route 66 still open to traffic. […]
The framing of the new deck is in place and half of the decking concrete has been poured with the remaining half expected to be poured by mid to late April. Once the remaining portion of the deck has been poured, the bridge will be painted and additional structural work will be completed.
Local officials are using a variety of funding for the $1.3 million project, including from the Missouri Department of Transportation, Missouri Department of Economic Development Community Development, Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program and Pulaski County. And officials ensured the work would keep up the bridge’s historic look.
The truss bridge, built in 1923, is nearly 600 feet long. Local officials knew of the historical and tourism importance of the bridge, and spent years trying to secure funds to repair it. It sits near the popular Elbow Inn restaurant and bar on the Big Piney River.
(A 1931 image of the Devil’s Elbow Bridge by Chuck Coker via Flickr)