good is a Highway Page without US-66?
is the most famous highway in the US. This was a route
from Chicago to Los Angeles via St. Louis, Tulsa, Amarillo
and Flagstaff that inspired a song recorded by half the
known population of North America, a TV show, movies,
and countless books.
IL, US-66 ran from Jackson and Michigan in Chicago west
with US-34 to Ogden Avenue, then to Harlem Av. (then
IL-42A, now IL-43). US-34 continued west, while US-66
headed south a mile or so to Joliet Road. US-66 went
west from here to Joliet, then Bloomington-Normal, Springfield
and then St. Louis.
the St. Louis area the road had been relocated several
times. It crossed the Mississippi River at the Chain
of Rocks Bridge from 1937 until 1957 when it crossed
into St. Louis' downtown on the Veterans Bridge. US-66
was eventually replaced in IL by I-55 and I-270.
US-66 was originally built it went from Chicago to Welco
(Now Bolingbrook) and then south to and thru Joliet,
and eventually to Dwight, Pontiac, Bloomington, Springfield
and beyond. It was rerouted several times around various
towns, but the biggest rerouting occurred from Welco
original route, thru Joliet (on the current IL-53) was
changed to Alternate-US-66 after the newer route was
built in 1940. It was changed to IL-53 as an extension
of that route in 1966, and Alt-US-66 was decommissioned.
included near Joliet, where 66 was once on what is now
IL-53 into Joliet, and then was moved to what was then
(and is again) IL-126 into Plainfield to IL-59 south
to Wilmington, then to Gardner. The old route became
Alternate-US-66, then IL-53.
bypasses were built at many towns along the way, and
some towns have as many as 4 different alignments of
US-66 in and around them.
of Old US-66 in the St. Louis area are now parts of IL-157,
IL-203, IL-111, and IL-3. Some of these old alignments
became Alternate-US-66, Business-US-66, City-US-66, and
route was proposed to become US-60, and was marked as
such on some maps that came out before the road was posted
of US-66 in IL were posted as "Chicago" or
St. Louis" instead of N-S or E-W. This was due to
its diagonal orientation in IL. With the even number,
it would have officially been classified as an E-W road,
although in IL it actually went more N-S distance wise.
believed to have been used on old alignments of US-66
in the St. Louis area at various times. It was used in
the Bloomington-Normal area, thru Springfield, and thru
Lincoln as well. Each of these are now Business Loop
from Mitchell to East St. Louis, on what is now IL-203
and city streets to the old Municipal Toll Bridge into
St. Louis MO. It then continued on what is now MO-30
and MO-366 SW from St. Louis to meet up with US-66 outside
of town. This had been US-66 prior to 1938 when US-66
was rerouted on a bypass around St. Louis. City-US-66
was changed in part to IL-111 in 1964 and then became
used from 1957 to 1964 for what had been US-66 after
US-66 was relocated to a new freeway thru St. Louis.
The road is now IL-157 from Hamel to Glen Carbon, and
Chain of Rocks road. It used to go into MO over the Chain
of Rocks Bridge.
are several museums dedicated to US-66 (Clinton OK, Baxter
KS, Vega TX), and even a US-66 Hall of Fame in McLean
IL. Most of the old roadway has been reposted in some
way by the various states as "Historic US-66"
the early 1990's, it became very fashionable to retrace
old US-66. Us road geeks had been driving it for years,
but now it was being publicized in the popular press,
and TV specials were being made weekly. Most states along
the way of the old US-66 posted signs along the old pavement
identifying it as "Historic US-66".
US-66 states except TX use the same type sign, a rectangle
containing an outline of the old shield shaped sign with
state name in the shield, and the rest of the sign in
brown on white stating "Historic" or "Historic
uses different signs, and also paints "66" shields
on the pavement for the few miles it ran there. OK has
a good chunk of the route as OK-66, and there are still
many original US-66 shields and markers along the way
IL, not all portions of the ROW are marked. In places
where more than one alignment exists, such as Dwight
(4) or Pontiac (3) only one is chosen to be marked. It
is usually a portion of the 4 lane version that immediately
preceded the I-55 route. Parts of I-55 are also marked
as Historic US-66 where it directly replaced US-66.
are web sites that exist only to point people to US-66
web sites. Authentic US-66 markers collect thousands
of dollars at antique stores, and the fake ones are grabbed
up faster than you can blink.
Moeur's Arizona US-66 signs
DOT's Route 66 site
biggest gripe about books about US-66 is that they rarely
have decent pictures of real US-66 markers. What good
is a highway without markers?
US-66 marker outside the Galena KS Museum.
uses these signs to mark a portion of the US-66 route.
This section is near Braidwood. IL-129 currently runs
from I-55 north of Diamond to Braidwood. It had continued
SW to Gardner on the north side of the parallel railroad
tracks, but was rerouted onto what is now IL-53 south
of Braidwood when a bridge (Next photo) was condemned.
After a year or so multiplexed with IL-53 IL-129 was
removed south of IL-113.
was on the second US-66 thru the area, IL-53 was on the
first. After the second route was built from about where
Bolingbrook is now SW to Gardner the old route (south
of the RR) was changed to Alternate US-66.
magnificent bridge was built in 1941 over the then
Alton Railroad (Later GM&O, ICG, CMNW, SPCSL, and
now Union Pacific) Pequot branch. The highway to the
right is currently IL-53, and had been Alternate US-66,
and before that just plain old US-66. The bridge carried
the newer route of US-66 that bypassed Joliet. After
US-66 was removed from this route this became IL-129.
the bridge deteriorated beyond repair it was closed
(about 1995). IL-129 was removed from this route in
the mid 1990's as the bridge was closed, and eventually
pulled back to end at IL-113 in Braidwood. The bridge
was offered to preservation groups if they could relocate
it off the ROW but it was deemed to expensive to dismantle
and move. The bridge was torn down in 2001. The graded
embankments are still visible. To view this bridge