Route 66 News

Devil’s Elbow Bridge reopens to traffic

The historic Devil’s Elbow Bridge along Route 66 in Devil’s Elbow, Missouri, reopened to traffic Thursday — three months early — after much-needed repairs were completed.

The blog of Pulaski County Tourism Bureau has the details of the unannounced reopening:

Pulaski County Commissioner Gene Newkirk noted that the first vehicles to cross the bridge were all from out of state, and that the second group, several motorcycles, were international Route 66 enthusiasts. […]

One excited motorist even honked their horn in celebration as they crossed the bridge that had been closed to traffic for seven months.

Some of the signage that was removed during the bridge rehabilitation is now located at Pulaski County Visitors Center (137 St. Robert Boulevard, Suite A, Saint Robert) for Route 66 fans to see and photograph.

More photographs from Thursday:

For comparison, here’s what the bridge looked like before the repairs:

A ceremony marking the bridge’s reopening will be scheduled within the next week or so.

The early reopening is very good news for Devil’s Elbow residents, who see a lot of tourism traffic from Route 66ers and canoe users on the Big Piney River during the summer months.

A variety of funding was used for the $1.3 million bridge-rehabilitation project, including from the Missouri Department of Transportation, Missouri Department of Economic Development Community Development, Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program and Pulaski County.

The truss bridge, built in 1923, is nearly 600 feet long. It sits near the Elbow Inn restaurant and bar, a popular hangout for Route 66ers, bikers and Fort Leonard Wood soldiers.

(Image of the Devil’s Elbow Bridge in 2010 by the Missouri Department of Tourism; all other photos courtesy of Pulaski County Tourism Bureau)

8 thoughts on “Devil’s Elbow Bridge reopens to traffic

  1. Tonya Pike

    I admit … I liked the rust too and I doubt that my favorite picture of this bridge, which I use as a screensaver, will be replaced with a picture of the new-looking bridge. But let’s keep in mind these repairs were necessary to make sure the bridge remained viable for travel/safe to cross. We have one bridge in Missouri that has been lost due to a lack of maintenance and inconsistent ownership and as a result, the Route 66 State Park is now a divided park. It’s inaccessibility is costing the Park dearly. Big kudos to Pulaski County for realizing the importance of this bridge and working hard to put together grants to ensure it remains in place for many years to come. Also a big thank you to Great River Engineering for seeing the work was completed in record time.

  2. Rich Henry

    its beautiful looking. The rust maybe gave a more original appearance, but now its structural safe and saved !! Maybe the same can hoppen with the Times Beach Bridge at the Route 66 State park.

  3. Jen

    Fantastic! It looks terrific! She looked so bad when we went through just a few years ago; we were a bit worried. Hurrah!

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