OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma Highway 69 will officially be known later this year as the Historic Jefferson Highway Route.
Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill Tuesday, designating the state highway in honor of the third U.S. president. The new designation officially goes into effect on Nov. 1. Sen. Micheal Bergstrom, R-Adair, wrote the bill, according to an Oklahoma Senate news release.
The highway spans from the Kansas to Texas borders and is the oldest highway to pass through Oklahoma.
“Nationally, the Jefferson Highway was one of the earliest in the country, completed nearly a decade before Route 66,” the news release states. “Originally established in 1915, the route cut through the heart of the Louisiana Purchase Territory and covered 2,300 miles from Winnipeg, Canada to New Orleans.”
The entire route was recently re-identified by the reformed Jefferson Highway Association organization.
“Designating Highway 69 as the ‘Historic Jefferson Highway Route’ will be a big boost to tourism in our state,” Bergstrom said. “History buffs across the nation will drive far and near to take a ride on the Jefferson Route, and now Oklahoma will welcome them with open arms. I’m excited for the economic boost this roadway will bring to our mom-and-pop restaurants, local shops, gas stations, hotels and more. I appreciate my colleagues for their support of this measure and the governor for signing it into law.”
The bill states that private sources may fulfill the costs associated with official signage for the highway. The Jefferson Highway Association will consult in the design of permanent markers, according to the news release.
“I’m excited to see Senate Bill 8 signed into law,” said Rep. Avery Frix, R-Muskogee, who carried the measure in the House. “This highway has been a big tourist attraction recently, and we’re hoping with the designation of this artery as the Historic Jefferson Highway this will be something similar to what has been done with Historic Route 66.”