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US-259 McCurtain County (South of Idabel)

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rte66man:
I saw the plans a few months ago. IIRC they are smoothing out the sharp curves and straightening out some of the 'snakiness'. However, ODOT's recent website changes have made finding plans a lot harder.

bugo:
Do you have a link for the US 259 plans? You're right, ODOT's website is not good. Before they redesigned the site a few years ago, there were tons of open folders on the ODOT website with PDF files including maps and other documents. I downloaded as many of them as I could, and now that version of the site is gone.

bwana39:

--- Quote from: bugo on September 11, 2023, 09:59:43 AM ---US 259 between OK 87 and Idabel was once OK 87. The Red River bridge was built in 1961 and US 259 was added to the system in 1963. I'm not sure when OK 87 was truncated to US 259, but ODOT maps still show it ending in Idabel. Incidentally, what is now OK 3 from Idabel east to the Arkansas line was OK 21, which also followed what is now US 259 north from Broken Bow to Smithville, where it turned east along modern OK 4 to end at the Arkansas line at AR 4. There is an old steel bridge in Smithville that was once a part of OK 21, but was never US 259 or OK 4.

--- End quote ---

There is another old steel bridge on an old routing of OK-21 / US-70 across the Little River  north of Idabel on "Old Broken Bow Highway." It is sitting in place but was bypassed a couple of years ago and replaced by a modern concrete bridge. OK-21 / US-70 was rerouted to the current routing in the mid-1930's. The original truss bridge on this (current) routing was used for bidirectional traffic until the 1990's and for northbound (IIRC) traffic for another decade more or less. It was eventually removed.

In the early 1960's US-259 was created from Nacogdoches TX to Page Oklahoma. In Oklahoma there was new road built through mountainous terrain from Smithville OK to Page OK. There was a bypass / straightening around Bethel OK. From south of DeKalb TX to the Red River Bridge US-259 was rerouted from TX-26 to both bypass DeKalb and directly connect with the newly built bridge.  Most of the rest of this road was just a renumbering of state highways both in Texas and Oklahoma.

The 1961 US-259 bridge north of DeKalb was replaced about 5 years ago. Both the original and its replacement are / were concrete slab bridges. Originally there had been a ferry a couple of miles east of the current bridge site. I am under the impression it had been discontinued before the bridge was built.

Yes, Bugo there is nothing of use I can find on the ODOT site that outlines the current construction.

I did find something really useful there though. High quality / definition PDF's of all the official Oklahoma Highway maps back to 1907. (Through 2010) You can magnify them however you want. Some of the best definition maps I have seen online. https://www.oktl.org/map-collection

Here is the link to the Ribbon Cutting Story https://www.mcalesternews.com/news/local_news/cathey-president-kennedy-s-1961-visit-to-southeastern-oklahoma/article_b6bf26c6-909b-5dc6-91c6-20f63dbb5760.html




bugo:

--- Quote from: bwana39 on September 12, 2023, 09:31:11 AM ---There is another old steel bridge on an old routing of OK-21 / US-70 across the Little River  north of Idabel on "Old Broken Bow Highway." It is sitting in place but was bypassed a couple of years ago and replaced by a modern concrete bridge. OK-21 / US-70 was rerouted to the current routing in the mid-1930's.
--- End quote ---

About 30 years ago, I was in Idabel for some reason (just driving around for the sake of it, most likely) and I decided to take what looked like the old highway north out of Idabel on the county map book that I had at the time. This alignment crossed the Little River, which made me suspicious that there might be an old bridge there. My hunch was correct, and there is an amazing crossing there. This was long before sites like the late, lamented bridgehunter.com and social media existed, and there wasn't much information about bridges at all online. We had to find bridges the old fashioned way: study maps for hours at a time, using your skills at spotting old bridges by using a county level map and going out in the field and looking for bridges. Sometimes you hit a home run, sometimes you got a base hit, and sometimes you struck out. The bridge hobby is completely different now than it was even 20 years ago. I lived in Kansas City in the early 2000s, and I drove around looking for bridges all the time, usually striking out. Ten years or so later, bridgehunter.com had thousands of bridge listings, including a ton of bridges in the KC metro that I had no idea were there. Many of them now no longer exist. With the demise of bridgehunter.com and the ephemerality of social media, it isn't as easy as it was a year ago, but it's still nothing like it was in the 1990s.


--- Quote ---In the early 1960's US-259 was created from Nacogdoches TX to Page Oklahoma. In Oklahoma there was new road built through mountainous terrain from Smithville OK to Page OK. There was a bypass / straightening around Bethel OK. From south of DeKalb TX to the Red River Bridge US-259 was rerouted from TX-26 to both bypass DeKalb and directly connect with the newly built bridge.  Most of the rest of this road was just a renumbering of state highways both in Texas and Oklahoma.

--- End quote ---

Le Flore County is in my old neck of the woods. What is now US 259 from US 59/270 near Page to Smithville was originally OK 103, from Smithville to Broken Bow was OK 21, from Broken Bow to Idabel was a follow route of US 70, from Idabel to just north of the Red River near Harris was OK 87, and the Red River bridge and approaches was new construction especially for US 259. I've never seen a map that showed a different number for the section south of OK 87. OK 21 was a weird C shaped highway that ended at the Arkansas border at both termini.


--- Quote ---The original truss bridge on this (current) routing was used for bidirectional traffic until the 1990's and for northbound (IIRC) traffic for another decade more or less. It was eventually removed.
--- End quote ---

Yes. this was an incredible bridge. It had 9 Parker pony spans, a K-truss through span, and another pony span at the other end. I think what doomed it more than anything was geometry. It was lower in elevation than the SB bridge, and the way the NB lanes ran through the area were weird.

Another bridge in that area that has been largely forgotten is the old OK 21 (later OK 4) Mountain Fork River bridge. I remember riding across it in the 1980s, but it was removed not long after that. It was a multiple span through truss bridge of some design that I cannot recall.

bwana39:

--- Quote from: bugo on September 12, 2023, 11:23:40 AM --- With the demise of bridgehunter.com and the ephemerality of social media, it isn't as easy as it was a year ago, but it's still nothing like it was in the 1990s.



--- End quote ---

Bridgehunter is SUPPOSED to be coming back. It, at least, has a placeholder when you type in / click on the url /shortcut now.

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