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Local & Regional

Commission Mulling Route 66 Master Plan Update

Oklahoma Department of Transportation

The Tulsa Route 66 Commission is considering an update to the corridor’s master plan, last touched in 2005.

"The citizens have approved through the Vision Tulsa package some dollars to help our work in making Route 66 all it can be in Tulsa. So, we want to have a new strategic plan that guides that work, that invests that money in meaningful ways that will give us the best return," said Chairman Ed Sharrer.

An update would give the commission an opportunity to pencil in new projects. The 11th Street bridge over the Arkansas River is a priority.

"The route came to where there was an existing, concrete-reinforced bridge, not the other way around. So, we owe it to ourselves as a community to protect, enhance, rehabilitate that structure," Sharrer said.

The bridge is not structurally sound, and restoring it could cost upwards of $20 million. But it is not needed for vehicle traffic and could be developed as a pier or similar pedestrian attraction.

It could be easier to secure city funding for big projects if they were part of a vetted and approved improvements list. An update, however, would involve not only new capital improvements, but also policy matters like zoning and design standards along the corridor.

"We really need to make sure that policies are in place that both strategically, in the sense of marketing as well as branding and those types of things, that we’re really moving forward in a cohesive way. So, it would be all-encompassing," Sharrer said.

The process could take 12 to 18 months.

The commission was told last month the master plan developed in 2005 was never formally adopted by the planning commission. Sharrer said they would see the new one through that process.