Action alert — your help is needed!

As most readers know, Route 66 preservation is one of my greatest passions. I’ve been involved in everything from hands-on historic preservation projects to successful letter-writing campaigns to save structures all along the Mother Road. This week, I became aware of a pressing preservation issue right in my backyard, and I really need your help to protect a beautiful, historic bridge from demolition. Below is the action alert I am sharing with anyone who cares about historic preservation:

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation is considering demolition of one of Catoosa’s historic “twin bridges” that carry Route 66 traffic across Bird Creek. The older of the two steel-truss bridges was built in 1936 to accommodate vehicles weighing up to 15 tons. Modern vehicles, which are much heavier, have taken their toll on the 74-year-old structure, which has deteriorated so badly that it will have to be closed to traffic in the near future.

ODOT is seeking public comment as it weighs several options for the bridge’s future.

From an aesthetic and safety standpoint, the best option seems to be a compromise that would involve building a new, flat bridge, then placing the old steel trusses – with some minor changes to meet modern height and width requirements – on top for aesthetic purposes. This option would preserve the bridge’s visual impact while meeting modern safety requirements. This option is similar to the method used a few years ago to preserve the Captain Creek Bridge on Route 66 near Wellston.

To voice your support for this compromise option, please go to:

http://www.okladot.state.ok.us/meetings/a2010/100420/comments.pdf

(The site may take a few minutes to load, but this beautiful old bridge is well worth the effort.)

In your comments, be sure to include the following talking points:

1. The bridge is very popular with Route 66 tourists and photographers.

2. Demolition of the bridge would cause irreparable harm to Route 66.

3. The best solutions to the problem would be to either keep the bridge in place and bypass it with a new structure or replace it with a new structure that uses the old trusses as decorative elements to preserve the look of the “twin bridges” while resolving the safety issues.

Thanks in advance for helping with this project. By the end of the day, I would like for ODOT to receive at least 250 messages of support for the bridge from Route 66 enthusiasts around the world. Please lend your voice to this cause. I will try to get some good photos of the bridge this weekend.

Emily

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