Route 66 Bridge North Of Catoosa Could Get A Makeover
By Dan Bewley, The News On 6
CATOOSA, OK -- An infamous Route 66 bridge could be in store for a makeover. The Oklahoma Department of Transportation has the Bird Creek Bridge north of Catoosa in its sights.
Many are saying the bridge is a danger to drivers.
Molly's Landing sits at the base of the south side of the Bird Creek Bridge. The risky drive across is the only way to work for Elizabeth Bolin.
"Everyday... everyday, you practically have to pray," said Bolin, who is a Catoosa resident.
The twin bridge is one of the oldest in the state, with the southbound built in 1936. In the last two years ODOT has been out there 42 times to conduct repairs, including one in March of 2008 when a large hole opened in a southbound lane.
Bolin says she's all too aware of problems the bridge presents.
"You have to do almost like a zigzag across it because there's holes, and there's new holes each time a big truck goes by or if it rains," said Bolin.
"Right now the bridge that's out there, when it was designed, was designed to carry 1936 traffic. It wasn't designed to carry 2010 traffic," said Randle White, an ODOT Engineer.
The trouble has the attention of ODOT. It's begun the process to fix the bridge permanently, beginning with a public hearing.
"I think it's a neat looking bridge, it's got a lot of character," said Brad Nickson, Oklahoma Route 66 Association.
Nickson agrees that the bridge is unsafe, but would hate to see ODOT steer too far away from the bridge's unique style.
"When our foreign travelers come to the United States to see Route 66 I think they expect bridges of that style," said Nickson.
Bolin agrees, she doesn't want to lose her view of history, but says drivers need a break and it's time for the bridge to get a makeover.
"The foundation is terrible. I think they really need to work on that, but keep the iron. I think they can do that," said Bolin.
ODOT is asking for anyone to comment on what they think should be done with the bridge. Leave a comment.