How to update but preserve vital parts of a historic structure: the Captain Creek Bridge in Wellston

The Oklahoma Route 66 Association posted on Facebook a very good example of how to update a historic bridge to modern standards, yet keep the essential elements that make it unique.

Behold the work being done to the Captain Creek Bridge in Wellston, Oklahoma:

Oklahoma also is updating the iconic William H. Murray Bridge, aka the Pony Bridge, near Bridgeport the same way: Rebuild and widen the deck, then reattach the distinctive yellow trusses on the side. That way, Route 66 enthusiasts and history buffs still can experience the bridge by driving across it.

It’s not exactly the same as the original, but it’s better than bypassing it and letting it continue to decay. It’s better still than tearing it down to make way for the new span.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation told Route 66 News 15 years ago the essential appearance of the Captain Creek Bridge would be preserved. The actual construction work took longer than anyone anticipated, but give credit for ODOT for keeping its word.

According to Bridgehunter.com, the Captain Creek Bridge was built in 1932 on Wellston’s west side. It eventually was designed to the National Register of Historic Places.

4 thoughts on “How to update but preserve vital parts of a historic structure: the Captain Creek Bridge in Wellston

  1. This method is an OUTSTANDING method! This is what MDOT should do to the Gasconade River Bridge!

    1. In spirit, I agree. However, most of the trusses on the Gasconade River Bridge contain cantilevers. To update the bridge to modern standards, MoDOT would have been forced to forge new cantilevers for those trusses, which would have diminished their historical value. The Captain Creek Bridge had no such problem.

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