The Old Deadly Underpass

Indian Hill aka Deadly Route 66


The 1930s and 40s alignment of U.S. hwy 66 did not pass under the tracks by the Helium Plant. Instead the road kept its westerly direction for another 3.5 miles, along what is now Indian Hill Road, on the north side of the railway until it reached what is now Hill Dr., where it took a sharp entry and a sharp exit curve to pass in a very closed "S curve" under the tracks.

The old deadly underpass

The 1930s and 40s alignment of U.S. hwy 66 did not pass under the tracks by the Helium Plant. Instead the road kept its westerly direction for another 3.5 miles, along what is now Indian Hill Road, on the north side of the railway until it reached what is now Hill Dr., where it took a sharp entry and a sharp exit curve to pass in a very closed "S curve" under the tracks.

Just before its intersection with Hill Drive, the remains of the old 1940s highway paving can be seen on the left side of the road.

It seems that this part of Route 66 was the most dangerous of the whole highway. The unexpected "S curve" caught drivers unaware and speeding drivers crashed there quite often.

Just before the intersection with Hill Dr. you can spot the big chunks of cracked tar road surface curving towards the left between the old railway corridor (the tracks are long gone) and Indian Hill Rd.

The image above shows (top) the "S" of the old road in Red, the arrow marks the surviving portion of US Highway 66, and the railway line in yellow. It also shows (bottom) a 1984 USGS map with contour lines, which explains why the underpass was located here: The drainage is towards the south (bottom) through a culvert on Indian Hill Rd. and under the tracks, which ran on an embankment at that point (brown dashed lines). It is clear that the railway's bridge over this natural drainage was selected for the old U.S. 66 underpass (Red line). Modern I-40 is the double red line below the tracks.

The middle part of the image shows two thumbnails (originals can be viewed here), as seen from the south side of the tracks.

The "Death Trap", as it was known, stood there until the early 1950s (an deadly accident was recorded there in 1951) when the road was shifted to the south side of the tracks and the underpass, with a less pronounced "S curve" was built at its current position closer to Amarillo.

A very reliable website on the alignment of Route 66 incorrectly places this underpass 1 mile closer to Bushland, at the crossing of Blessen Rd. The Correct placement is at Hill Dr. because the culvert seen in the left thumbnail (clearly visible in the original photos) is also visible in the satellite image above, just before the crossing, but there is no culvert at Blessen and Indian Hill Rd


 

Amarillo, TX - Triangle Motel

The old Triangle Motel sign on Route 66 (East Amarillo Boulevard) in Amarillo, Texas. Built in 1945, the Triangle Motel was one of the first tourist courts built on Amarillo’s piece of Route 66. Complete with pull-in garages, the motel was built with hand-cut bricks oven-dried in Amarillo, featured ten units in its two buildings, which surrounded a courtyard filled with gardens, a children’s playground, picnic tables, and a horseshoe pitching court. The rooms featured bathrooms with large tiled showers, a luxury for many a Route 66 traveler.
Further Sources:
http://www.thc.texas.gov/public/upload/preserve/survey/highway/Amarillo,%20Triangle%20Motel%20NR.pdf