Seven historic Route 66 bridges in Oklahoma endangered

Bridge in Afton, OK

Historian and author Jim Ross, who’s plugged into the goings-on with Oklahoma’s Route 66 as well as anyone, posted this grim message Monday on Facebook.

The gist of it is seven historic bridges on the Mother Road in Oklahoma are slated for replacement, but one — the fabled Pony Bridge near Bridgeport — likely will be saved and another near Afton might be saved with plenty of public pleading.

Ross says the other bridges are goners unless something drastically different happens in the coming months or years.

Here’s the post. I’ve added relevant links for more information:

ODOT has seven Oklahoma Route 66 bridges up for replacement:

1) Horse Creek Bridge, Afton;
2) Bell Cow Creek Bridge, Chandler;
3) Pony Bridge, Bridgeport;
4) Bridge near Hinton Junction (west of Pony Bridge);
5) Washita River Bridge, Clinton;
6) Elk Creek Bridge, Elk City;
7) Red River Bridge, Sayre.

The Pony bridge will likely be saved. The bridge to its west is not considered historically significant, but is unique and will be a big loss.

The Chandler, Clinton, Elk City, and Sayre bridges are also not considered significant and realistically have no chance of survival.

That leaves the Horse Creek Bridge at Afton, which is the only bridge of its kind remaining in original condition with pedestrian walkways on both sides. It is listed on the NRHP as well. Options are 1) no build; 2) build on new location; 3) repair existing bridge.

Anyone in the Afton area can visit a “drop in” center to provide input on September 21st from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at the following locations: Nowhere Restaurant, 300 SE 1st; Afton Station, 12 SE 1st; and City Hall, 201 SW 1st, all in Afton. You can also email ODOT’s Cultural Resources Director Scott Sundermeyer at: [email protected]. Let’s get busy and save this bridge!

According to Bridgehunter.com, the Horse Creek Bridge near Afton was built in 1936 and is on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995.

Getting ODOT to preserve historic bridges became a more unlikely prospect in the past year or so. The state’s budget cratered to a $1 billion deficit because of poor planning by the Legislature and the collapse of oil and gas prices.

(Excerpted image of the Horse Creek Bridge near Afton, Oklahoma, via Google Street View)

3 thoughts on “Seven historic Route 66 bridges in Oklahoma endangered

  1. Thanks, Ron! This will help spread the word. I am optimistic about the Horse Creek Bridge. Saving the “Tower” bridge (west of the Pony Bridge) may be a taller hill to climb, depending on which option is chosen for the Pony Bridge.

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