INDUSTRY INSIDER | June 13, 2024

Drivers Can Get Their Kicks on Route 66 Following US-281/Route 66 Bridgeport Bridge Opening Celebration

Original Source: Oklahoma DOT

Transportation officials and state leaders officially reopened the iconic Route 66 Bridgeport “Pony” bridge to traffic after a year-and-a-half of construction and well ahead of the Route 66 Centennial in 2026.

Friday’s community event and celebration marks the first Route 66 Centennial event for Oklahoma and officially reopens the iconic bridge along Route 66 at the Caddo/Canadian county line. Many were on hand to mark this significant milestone for Oklahoma including Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell, Oklahoma Department of Transportation Executive Director Tim Gatz, Oklahoma Historical Society Director Trait Thompson, Oklahoma Route 66 Association President Rhys Martin, Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation Executive Director Shelley Zumwalt, Federal Highway Administration, local and state officials as well as hundreds of Route 66 enthusiasts.

“Bridgeport Bridge has been a staple along Route 66 for nearly 90-years and, thanks to our partnership with ODOT, will continue to serve as a tourist destination for many more years to come,” said Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell. “Preserving the Mother Road’s unique history while increasing access and safety will attract more visitors here throughout the centennial celebration and beyond.”

The $35 million, year-and-a-half-long project featured a number of improvements to the iconic bridge including widening the bridge, pouring new concrete for a smoother driving surface, refurbishing the original trusses and building a new parking and observation area. The features were designed by STV Inc. and built in partnership with ODOT’s contractor OBC Inc.

“ODOT and our partners have invested years into planning and studying as well as $35 million to preserve this piece of Oklahoma history, while using new and emerging technology for future generations to enjoy,” said ODOT Executive Director Tim Gatz. “This impressive effort could not have happened without our partners. We want to thank the Legislature and the Governor for their support as well as the hundreds of ODOT employees and contractors who made this possible.”

The work of former U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe and the Oklahoma congressional delegation helped secure a $22 million federal BUILD grant. The grant was awarded with the provision all work be completed ahead of the Route 66 Centennial in 2026.

“This event is helping Oklahoma solidify itself as a main destination for Route 66 fans ahead of the route’s centennial,” said Gov. Kevin Stitt. “We are so excited about all the events we will host throughout Oklahoma to commemorate the Route 66 Centennial between now and the end of 2026.”

The bridge is now open to all traffic and visitors should not stop on the bridge to take photos. There is a safe pullout area next to the bridge featuring a kiosk with historical information and views of the bridge.

The next major investment in this historic corridor is the Route 66 Tower bridge replacement just west of Bridgeport. Expected to receive bids in June, the estimated $5.4 million project is anticipated to begin late summer 2024 and to be completed in early 2025.

Transportation officials, state leaders and partners officially reopened the iconic Route 66 Bridgeport “Pony” bridge to traffic after a year-and-a-half of construction and well ahead of the Route 66 Centennial in 2026.

Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell, Oklahoma Department of Transportation Executive Director Tim Gatz, Oklahoma Historical Society Director Trait Thompson, Oklahoma Route 66 Association President Rhys Martin, Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation Executive Director Shelley Zumwalt participate in the first drive across the newly reopened US-281/Rt. 66 Bridgeport bridge on Friday, May 10.