“God said to Abraham kill me a son. Abe said God, you must be putting me on. God said no. Abe said “why?” God said “just do or die.” Abe said “where do you want this killing done?” God said “out on Highway 61.” -Bob Dylan.
Bob Dyan was referring to Highway 61 as the notorious Blues highway that runs North and South through Missouri and most of the central part of the United States in his song from “Highway 61 Revisited.” It became famous for all of the Blues joints that are scattered along the way, but also for the amount of blood that has been spilled on the highway since it’s been open.
It, like a lot of other highways that run through St. Louis, are referred to by the locals as “blood alley.” Highway 21, Highway 30, and parts of Highway 70 have also received that designation.
The highways are dangerous because of the way that they were built. More like racetracks than highways with twists and turns and blind spots. Some, like Highway 0 in Pacific, Missouri are like roller coaster rides, they undulate like a writhing snake.
One of the things that has made Highway 61 so dangerous over the years are the at-grade intersections. People tend to blast through them without regard to cross traffic causing numerous collisions.
Now, according to The St. Louis Post Dispatch, Highway 61 my soon not be a dangerous highway to write songs about anymore. Most of the roadside Blues joints are long since gone now, and those dangerous intersections are about to be fixed.
According to the Post, “since 2005, there have been 13 fatal crashes on the highway between Interstate 70 and Lincoln County’s northern border, according to the Missouri Department of Transportation.”
Some of the improvement slate include a $12.5 million overpass between Highway U and Mette Road. They also plan on building an interchange at South Lincoln Drive south of Troy. New outer roads alongside 61 is also a goal.
A whole lot of money has been spent lately on building new roads and bridges in the St. Louis area. The new Highway 40 has been a rousing success. It was a new roads project that was brought in ojn time and under budget, almost a miracle nowadays. But we can’t ignore some of the old roads and bridges that have become hazardous as well. Hey have already taken a lot of lives, lets not have them have any more, even out on Highway 61.