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Ottawa County residents trying to save part of the original Route 66

OTTAWA COUNTY, Okla. — People in Ottawa County are trying to save a part of the original Route 66.

The road, dating back to the 1920s, is at risk of being torn up.

Just 9 feet wide, the sidewalk road once bright and busy is now cracked and quiet.

Legend has it that officials had a choice about the section between Miami and Afton. Either pave half of it and wait or pave all of it at half the width.

People from around the world have come to see it, but now Ottawa County officials decided to break down the original asphalt, remove it, and replace it with a brand new layer.

Historians, preservationists, and Route 66 enthusiasts are pleading for it to stop.

“We understand you need to have a good road for people to travel on, but what we’ve asked and what we’ve recommended to them is to patch what exists. To take that historic asphalt, that historic concrete and restore it rather than replace it,” said Rhys Martin, president of the Oklahoma Route 66 Association.

Beth Hilburn, the owner of Hi-Way Café on Route 66, took her kids to visit the road and teach them its importance.

“I’m trying to explain to him that I want it to be there for his kids and grandkids and that’s why we’re working so hard to try and save it,” Hilburn said.

With the Route 66 Centennial Celebration coming up in just two years, Martin said this couldn’t happen at a worse time.

“It’s historic, it’s the only stretch of road like this in the country. With Route 66′s Centennial coming up, it’s so important that people traveling the roads not only get to experience the small towns and businesses, but the actual authentic pieces of the road that are still left,” Martin said.

FOX23 has reached out to all three commissioners of Ottawa County, but have yet to receive a response at this time.

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