Without fanfare, a Route 66 icon returned to service May 22, 2014. The 1923 Devils Elbow Bridge reopened to traffic after being closed for rehabilitation since October 24th, 2013. The project was completed 3 months ahead of schedule, just in time for the peak of tourist season. Pulaski County Commissioner Gene Newkirk noted that the first vehicles to cross the bridge were all from out of state, and that the second group, several motorcycles, were international Route 66 enthusiasts.
During an impromptu chat on the bridge, Devils Elbow resident Cheryl Dalgetty spoke of her excitement that it had reopened and how much the bridge, and the tourists who flock to Devils Elbow to see it, mean to her community. She recalled that since moving to the area in 1978 she has seen motor coaches filled with tourists cross, and even walk across it to take photos of the bridge itself and the beauty of the Big Piney River and her majestic bluffs.
One excited motorist even honked their horn in celebration as they crossed the bridge that had been closed to traffic for seven months.
Some of the signage that was removed during the bridge rehabilitation is now located at Pulaski County Visitors Center (137 St. Robert Boulevard, Suite A, Saint Robert) for Route 66 fans to see and photograph.
Commissioner Newkirk stated that a formal ceremony marking the reopening will be held in approximately 7 to 10 days. Stay tuned to Pulaski County Tourism Bureau on Facebook (www.facebook.com/PulaskiCountyUSA) or Twitter (@PulCoUSA) for details as they are released.