A new U.S. Route 66 designation in Kansas would tie a new U.S. Route 66 in Missouri together with a new U.S. Route 66 in Oklahoma providing the Route 66 traveler with uninterrupted Route 66 travel.
Old Route 66 crossed the extreme southeastern corner of the Sunflower state on an alignment 13.2 miles long on its way west. While Route 66's forage into Kansas was short, it was also sweet. The Route passed through the historic lead mining communities of Galena and Baxter Springs. The scenery is quite pleasant with rolling hills and clumps of woods. There are also some old historic bridges and stretches of pavement.
All 13.2 miles of Old U.S. Route 66 are still maintained as state highways today but they are no longer identified as U.S. 66, although one segment east of Riverton is posted as Kansas State Highway 66. Official re-designation as "Historic" U.S. 66 would only be a matter of changing signage. This would also result in putting the Route back on all standard road atlases as an official U.S. Highway. But most important, it would provide the Historic Route 66 traveler with a consistent, continuous, state-to-state marking plan.
The few communities found along Old Route 66 in extreme southeastern Kansas would probably benefit more than anyone from a new U.S. Route designation. A new 66 U.S. Route designation would result in "green guide" signs along the I-44 freeway and toll road in the adjoining states of Missouri and Oklahoma that would help steer Route 66 tourists and travelers through southeastern Kansas. A U.S. Route designation would also return Route 66 to ALL printed and online maps and atlases.
With improved U.S. Route signage and the old Route on atlases again, more Americans would find it easier to incorporate a short jaunt down "Historic" U.S. 66 across Kansas into their trip plans. As an example, a family who is in somewhat of a hurry to drive from Chicago to the Southwest could see that they could leave the freeway just west of Springfield, MO, head west down "Historic" U.S. 66, cross the corner of Kansas and rejoin the freeway (or toll road in this case) near Miami, OK. This would give them a welcome break from the constant drag of freeway driving. This could actually help improve driver safety by providing a psychological break. It would also increase tourist traffic across the corner of Kansas bringing increased prosperity to this lovely but often overlooked corner of the state.
Concerned Kansans should contact their state legislature at: http://www.ipsr.ku.edu/ksdata/vote/
Urge them to pass legislation that would authorize the re-establishment of Route 66's U.S. Highway designation.
The United States Congress also has the authority to designate or re-designate U.S. Highways. E-mail or write your U.S. Representative at: http://www.house.gov/writerep/
Let your U.S. representative know that a new official U.S. Route designation is needed for Old Route 66 and that federal assistance is needed to help pay for additional new signs and, where needed, repairing the old roadway and bridges.
It would also be of some value to send an e-mail to the Kansas DOT and let them know that a new U.S. 66 designation is needed in the interest of continuity through their state. Contact them at: http://kdotapp2.ksdot.org/WelcomeContact/Contact2.aspx?id=Public_Info