Memorial Highways and Bridges Naming Program
The Memorial Highways and Bridges program was introduced to provide an official process in which to acknowledge and preserve the memory of certain individuals by naming a section of state roadway or bridge in their honor. The provision for authority and guidelines under which to implement this process can be found in Article 16 of Title 69 in the Oklahoma Statutes. The following information provides highlights of the overall program.
Requirements for Dedication Proposals [Section 1600.1]
Highways, bridges, and other facilities which are part of the state highway system may be considered for dedication in honor of individuals deserving of commendation for their active involvement in the highway or bridge project or for outstanding service to the nation, the state of Oklahoma or their community. Persons proposed to be so honored shall have been deceased not less than three (3) years prior to consideration except for members of the United States Armed Forces, law enforcement or firefighters fallen in the performance of their duties. The provision requiring the three year lapse from date of death shall also not apply to Medal of Honor recipients since they can be acknowledged whether living or deceased.
Proposals for the dedication of state highway facilities should specifically state the accomplishments upon which the proposal is based. The official list of memorial designations begins in Section 1601 in Title 69.
Choctaw Code Talkers Bridge Naming Program Act [Section 1600.2]
Legislation which created the “Choctaw Code Talkers Bridge Naming Program" was enacted for the purpose of providing a means in which to name various bridges located on the state highway system for the Choctaw Code Talkers of World Wars I and II in recognition of their service, valor and dedication. (See 69 O.S. 1600.2 C for listing of the individual designations.)
Cost & Payment of Memorial Signage [Section 1600
Each year the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) determines the cost for the new legislative year based on the average cost of memorial signage from the previous year. Based on the determined cost, an invoice will be sent to the applicable party. Once payment has been received by ODOT, staff will work with the legislative sponsor and/or any other relative parties identified by the applicant, to facilitate fabrication and installation of the signs to accommodate dedication ceremonies if desired. However, memorial signs cannot be installed prior to the effective date of the legislative measure under which the memorial designation was approved
Exemptions to payment requirements apply to:
- members of the US Armed Forces who were killed while participating in a contingency operation as defined in Section 1600 B. 1 & 2 of Title 69
- members of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol fallen in the performance of their duties
- peace officers certified pursuant to Section 3311 of Title 70 fallen in the performance of their duties
- first responders as defined by Section1-2506.1 of Title 63 fallen in the performance of their duties.
The process in which to determine the cost and exemptions for payment are outlined in Section 1600 of Title 69.
How do I propose a memorial highway or bridge designation?
Since a highway or bridge memorial designation must be approved through the legislative process you will need to contact your local senator or representative. To find out who your local legislators are and obtain contact information you can access that information at http://www.oklegislature.gov/index.aspx. You will also want to ensure the section of highway or bridge you wish to have named has not been previously designated. (In case signage has been temporarily or otherwise removed.) You can view the Memorial Highways and Bridges map at https://arcg.is/1DOfXK or reach out to ODOT at (405)522-3969.