Chaffee Hwy 77 Bridge Hearing

Hwy 77 Road Hearing in Chaffee 07-15-1967Many photographers hated covering meetings, but I usually didn’t mind. Even dull but necessary governmental hearings offered up opportunities for interesting portraits and studies in body language. (You can click on the photos to make them larger.)

This meeting was to bring together all the principle players to hear why it was taking so long to complete a bridge over the Cotton Belt Railroad tracks on Hwy 77 north of Chaffee. The project had kept the most direct route out of and into town blocked for more than a year.

The Missourian’s caption said “Chaffee residents demonstrated their concern Saturday with the slow pace of construction on Highway 77 at a hearing held by Jack Stapleton and Albert C. Riley of the State Highway Commission. Mayor Robert H. Capshaw of Chaffee gestures as he describes problems created by the construction. Clockwise around the table are, Elbert Masters, Maurice Montgomery, R.P.Stephens, contractor for the project, W.D. Carney, District 10 highway engineer; Mr. Riley and Mr. Stapleton.”

A trip to the construction site

Hwy 77 Road Hearing in Chaffee 07-15-1967I never met a barrier you couldn’t walk around, so I shot this picture of the movers and shakers looking through the barricade.

They got bold

Hwy 77 Road Hearing in Chaffee 07-15-1967When the group saw nothing bad happened to me, they moved closer. Yep, there’s no bridge there.

Mayor makes his points

Hwy 77 Road Hearing in Chaffee 07-15-1967The Missourian said, “Mayor Capshaw describes the highway problem to Mr. Stapleton as Keith Moore and Mr. Masters look on.

One day there will be a bridge here

Hwy 77 Road Hearing in Chaffee 07-15-1967There’s still a long way to go before a bridge is going to sit atop that pier.

Do NOT do this!!!

Hwy 77 Road Hearing in Chaffee 07-15-1967I was doing a freelance job for a railroad insurance adjuster when I did what this guy is doing: I walked on the rail.

“Do you know what one of the most common injuries I see?” the adjuster asked.


“People who are walking on the rail like you are. When their foot slips off, it slices the ankle bone clean off.”

I never walked a rail again.

Not a happy crowd

Hwy 77 Road Hearing in Chaffee 07-15-1967You can tell this crowd is not happy by the dour expressions and the crossed arms.

W.D. Carney, the District 10 highway engineer disputed a statement made by Mayor Capshaw that the Chaffee Merchants had been damaged by the shutdown of the highway. “This is not true,” the paper reported he said.

“Town is not divided”

Hwy 77 Road Hearing in Chaffee 07-15-1967Mayor Capshaw asked permission to interrupt and asked for a a show of hands from those in the audience if they thought Chaffee had been done an injustice by the highway department. Every hand in the room was raised.

“Don’t come and tell us we have not been done an injustice,” Mr. Capshaw directed at Mr. Carney. “This town is not divided in its opinion we have been done an injustice.”

The crowd was so big it spilled over into the corridor and out onto the lawn.

Albert C. Riley

Hwy 77 Road Hearing in Chaffee 07-15-1967This is Albert C. Riley of the State Highway Commission. I don’t know who the reporter is who is behind him. I don’t think he was with The Missourian.

Jack Stapleton

Hwy 77 Road Hearing in Chaffee 07-15-1967

Jack Stapleton of the State Highway Commission