Much ink and some tears have been spilled over the de-designation of Route 66.
But what about the other major US highways: those thick red lines on a map connecting the coasts. When did they get lopped off the system? Where are their eulogies?
Curious about their death sentences, I contacted the Administrative Coordinator for Engineering of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the organization that controls the designation of US numbered highways.
I wrote, “I am inquiring whether there is a table showing when US facilities were de-designated from the system. I am specifically interested in US Highway 80.”
I did not get a reply.
The Yuma Daily Sun said goodbye to US 80 in a front-page, boxed text piece on December 27, 1977.
The lead read ominously: “U.S. Highway 80 will disappear by January 1, leaving behind a history which will remain only in the minds of thousands of travelers who crossed over the old road for the past 50 years.”
The article then recounted in rote fashion the Spanish origins of the highway, concluding its replacement, Interstate 8, was now “The Journey of Death.”
Ah, yes, death.