Welcome to the highways section of our website. The following pages attempt to document the history of the many past and present alignments of highways in the state of Oklahoma. When we at the historic infrastructure group refer to "highways," we do not mean interstates, limited access freeways, or turnpikes. We refer to highways as the classic surface level roads that were, in their original state, simply a network of "good roads" providing through routes linking various towns and cities. Over time, they may have been reduced in importance as main line routes, but they still serve as the distribution network that gets people and goods from the main trunk line expressways to the more distant and far-flung population centers in this vast state of ours.
The highway network in Oklahoma is extensive and has seen many changes over its 80+ years of existence. In some instances, the original routes between cities have been realigned by miles and sometimes even moved onto new limited-access freeways, leaving the old routes as back roads used only for limited local traffic. These old routes can be incredible time capsules of how the highway network was constructed in its early days. In other instances, however, the modern route still follows the original route almost in its entirety, allowing one to easily follow the same paths as a traveler in the early days of the automobile. That these alignments are still used as modern highway routes is a testament to the care taken in their design and construction so long ago.
The highway information presented here is broken into several sections offering different kinds of information. The main section offers detailed information on specific segments of highway, highlighting the driveable older alignments and their relationship to the current highways. Another section focuses on the original highways planned out by the State Highway Commission in 1925. There is also a section discussing the renumbering of various highways over the years, with a focus on those state routes that have not moved appreciably since their designation over 80 years ago. We also offer an analysis of the early US highway system in Oklahoma and, for those interested, a list of routes as alternatives to interstate or turnpike travel.
This section of the site will grow slowly as we have time to map, explore, and document the various highways in the state. If you have questions, suggestions, or simply enjoyed the site, please feel free to contact us via the contact link on the main page. Thanks for visiting the highways section of the Historic Bridge and Highways Website, and happy exploring!
For an explanation of Bates Standard Pavement, click here.
For the old wkinsler.com highways page created by Wes Kinsler in 2004, click here.
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State Highway Shields created by Ken Parker of Oklahoma Bridge & Highways Group.