Route 66 in the News

City Installs New Route 66 Signs

2009-09-10 21:35:34

CARTHAGE, Mo. - One set of new signs, marking the historic old Route 66 through Carthage, has been installed and another set will be installed in the next few weeks.

City crews installed new blue historic byway signs in Kellogg Lake Park and on Oak Street. The new signs replaced the brown historic byway signs that were installed more than a decade ago to mark the path of the historic former U.S. Highway that once served as a national artery and ran through Carthage.

The signs have the same Missouri U.S. Highway 66 shields on them that the old brown signs had. Cities across the state are receiving the signs as part of a cooperative agreement with the Route 66 Association of Missouri, which confirmed the locations where the signs should be placed.

Eric Kellstadt, senior transportation planner with the Missouri Department of Transportation, said crews should be installing the signs on Central Street and Garrison Avenue in Carthage next week. The goal for MoDOT is to have all its signs in place by Sept. 30.

Kellstadt said the project to replace the signs on the route was a cooperative effort between MoDOT and the Route 66 Association. Kellstadt said the statewide project was paid for with a $308,000 grant from the federal government.

Carthage Public Works Director Chad Wampler said the city received 12 of the signs, for use on the city streets and roads that once made up the famous road.

“We’re putting them up on city streets and the state will take care of putting the signs on the state routes,” Wampler said. “These signs are much better than the old ones. These signs tell you where to go to stay on the route. The old signs just marked whether you were on the route.”

Kellstadt said state maintenance crews have already installed some signs on Missouri 96 east of Carthage and the should be moving into Carthage any day now, depending on the weather and any other projects they have to work on.

Wampler said the signs should help alleviate one of the biggest complaints from people who travel Route 66, especially those traveling west — missing the turns at Garrison Street and Oak Street.

“Most tourists seem to head west out of town on the four lane and miss that turn,” Wampler said. “These should help.”

Kellstadt said the signs that will go at Central and Garrison and at Oak and Garrison have arrows to direct people which way to turn to stay on the historic route.

Kellstadt said Jasper County road districts are responsible for putting signs on county roads, including the stretch of the old route between Carthage and Carterville.

Wampler said the way he reads the agreement, the city pays for any new signs needed after this first batch. The state maintains the signs on Missouri 96 (Central Avenue) and Missouri Highway 571 (Garrison Avenue).

“These are going to be good for the city and good for the route, but especially good for the city,” Wampler said. “It will allow us to capture some of that traffic that we may have been missing and the tourists will be happier too.”

~Kevin McClintock, Carthage Press


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