Oklahoma’s largest newspaper uncovered new details about the new directional signs that will be installed along Route 66 this spring.
The Oklahoma Route 66 Association last month announced the forthcoming signs, including its somewhat altered design.
The Oklahoman, based in Oklahoma City, reported this on Monday:
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation will replace about 80 existing signs along the highway and add about 320 signs in other places, transportation spokeswoman Terri Angier said. The project is expected to begin in the spring and will cost about $20,000.
Oklahoma has roughly 400 driveable miles of Route 66, and state tourism officials say they believe that additional road signs will encourage travelers to support small businesses along the route.
Rhys Martin, president of the Oklahoma Route 66 Association, said travelers have long asked for better signage.
“Ever since I became involved in Route 66 years ago, the No. 1 thing we hear from travelers as something we need to improve is signage,” Martin said. “Since the centennial of Route 66 is coming up in 2026, we thought this would be a great first step to improve the travel experience on Route 66 in Oklahoma. Something that’s needed to be done for a while now has some energy behind it.”
Harley Russell of Erick, a newly minted member of the Oklahoma Route 66 Hall of Fame, weighed in about the importance of signs:
“That’s the only thing I’ve ever heard about Route 66 signs along the road is that ‘there isn’t enough signage, or they’re missing, they’ve been stolen, we couldn’t find the signs, and we’ve been lost about half of the time,’” he said. “That’s what I hear, and I hear it from people all over the planet.”
Russell said that “99 and 9/10ths” of his visitors, which number in the thousands, are from overseas. He said he believes the signs will help travelers find their way on the road.
“I think it’s taxpayer money that’s worth investing in the signs,” he said. “I think it’s a positive thing.”
The signs will be erected on Route 66 and near the junctions of other highways, including Interstate 40.
(An image of the new Oklahoma Route 66 signs via Facebook)