County seeks grant for Sidewalk Highway

Sidewalk Highway near Miami, OK

Ottawa County in northeast Oklahoma is seeking more than $450,000 in federal Transportation Alternatives Program money to fix the “Sidewalk Highway” of original Route 66 south of Miami.

According to an article in the Miami News-Record:

If awarded, the money would be used to repair a one-mile segment in a project that would extend for three years to cover the three miles of roadway.
Plans are to mill a 9-foot wide section of the roadway, replace it with new asphalt and extend the shoulders an additional 6 feet on each side.

Repairing that road has long been in the county’s radar, especially local tourism officials. Although the Sidewalk Highway sees sparse traffic, it has fallen into disrepair after nearly a century of use.

Guy Engineering in Tulsa put together the application for the grant. The report did not indicate a time frame when the application would be considered.

The Transportation Alternatives Program is designed to build pedestrian and bicycle facilities. With improved shoulders, the Sidewalk Highway would be more bicycle-friendly. The shoulders — such as they are — are gravel. The road in general is subject to poor drainage and washboarding.

The Sidewalk Highway near Miami also is called the Ribbon Road. It was built just nine feet wide in 1922 — narrow by even long-ago standards. The state at the time figured it could pave more road for the same amount of money. The Sidewalk Highway served as Route 66 from 1926 to 1937, when a better road was built nearby.

There also is a three-mile stretch of original Sidewalk Highway of Route 66 northeast of Afton, Oklahoma.

More about the Sidewalk Highway may be found here in an article I wrote years ago from Oklahoma Tourism.

(Image of the Ribbon Road near Miami, Oklahoma, by gsamx via Flickr)

4 thoughts on “County seeks grant for Sidewalk Highway

  1. Seems a shame to grind up the historic pavement and resurface it. And adding shoulders? Sounds like they are trying to destroy the road, not save it.

    1. I’m afraid OK doesn’t have a good history of protecting the Sidewalk Highway. Last summer the northern portion was almost unrecognizable. There had been so much gravel added and grading done it looked more like an ordinary country road; you could hardly see any sign of the original road. The southern part was better — in the sense that you could tell what the original had looked like. I understand the desire of residents on the road to have better access to their properties, but a world-renown segment of 66 should be treated with some respect, not just more gravel and wider shoulders.

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