This presentation is part of Are We There Yet? Preservation of Roadside Architecture & Attractions Symposium, Tulsa, Oklahoma, April 10-12, 2018.
By Scott Sundermeyer, Chad Moffett, and Christina Slattery
Route 66, commonly known as “America’s Main Street,” runs for approximately 400 miles across the state of Oklahoma and historically served as the state’s first major east-west highway. While Route 66 is well known for its tourism and roadside attractions, the essence of the highway is its roadbed, bridges, and other integral features. The Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) has long been committed to the preservation, interpretation, and management of Route 66. This presentation will focus on recent efforts to provide traditional and creative mitigation to tell the story of this road for the next generation.
ODOT has created an ArcGIS interactive map, also available as a KMZ file that opens as a layer in Google Earth, making it easy to view the many historic resources of the corridor. Using Google Earth, this map provides the location and survey data such as date of construction, description and photographs for segments of roadbed and bridges along the various alignments of Route 66. ODOT is currently developing an Oklahoma Route 66 Story Map that allows viewing of historic roadbed and road-related resources from a desktop or mobile device. The story map is continually being expanded with more data and is available through this app: https://gisapps.odot.ok.gov/rt66/rt66.html. This digital mapping builds on the “Oklahoma Route 66 Roadbed Documentation Project (1926-1970): A Survey of Roadbed and Integral structures” completed in 2002 in cooperation with the State Historic Preservation Office.
ODOT is also developing interpretive displays to tell the story of the highway and bridges that tell the story of this iconic corridor. Interpretive panels will be installed to discuss the history of two bridges that have been preserved – the historic 1916 11th Street Bridge over the Arkansas River in Tulsa and the Bird Creek K-truss Bridge spans, relocated to a county park in Catoosa near the famous Blue Whale roadside attraction. In development is also interpretation to mitigate the replacement of the Horse Creek Bridge along Route 66 in Afton Oklahoma. The display, to be housed in the Afton Station, will complement the Route 66 memorabilia and an eclectic collection of Packard automobiles found at this museum/visitor center.
Scott Sundermeyer is the Cultural Resources Program Director for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. Scott received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in anthropology from the University of Oklahoma. He coordinates all Section 106 consultation with the Oklahoma SHPO and manages the review and coordination for project impacts that may impact resources related to Route 66.
Chad Moffett is market lead and project manager for Mead & Hunt, a nationwide professional services firm. He has worked extensively to document Route 66 in California including the development of a historic context and Multiple Property Document, along with an inventory of the various alignments of the Route 66 roadbed along with hundreds of road-related properties along the route. He received a Master’s degree in Cultural Resources Preservation from the University of Wisconsin. Chad works extensively with state departments of transportation on activities to comply with Section 106, Section 4(f) and CEQA. Chad assisted ODOT with interpretation of Route 66 in Oklahoma.
Christina Slattery is Business Unit Leader of Cultural Resources at Mead & Hunt, a nationwide professional services firm. She is known for her historic road work with 20 years of experience helping state departments of transportation balance cultural resources and transportation needs. Christina received a Master of Historic Preservation from Ball State University and is a former board member of the Society for Commercial Archeology. She has a passion for roads and roadside architecture and routinely presents at national conferences including the biannual “Preserving the Historic Roads” and Transportation Research Board meetings.