Since Merle Haggard’s death in 2016, fans, friends and fellow musicians have been paying tribute to the late, legendary outlaw in any way they can.
According to Record Searchlight, a portion of a California highway will now bear Haggard’s name. The Interstate 5 and Highway 44 overpass’s new name is the Merle Haggard Memorial Overpass. Fans can visit the spot in Redding, a town just ten miles out from Merle’s Palo Cerdo home.
Two local radio hosts led the charge for raising funds for the name change. Patrick of Billy and Patrick Mornings on Q97 FM told the Record Searchlight. “Basically, we have been talking about something for a long time, like we needed to name a street after Merle.”
So, they got to work. In exchange for monetary donations of $20, those eager to help their cause would receive a t-shirt commemorating the event. Merle‘s favorite restaurant, Lulu’s Eating & Drinking Establishment, also had a hand in making things happen for the highway. It was the eatery that provided Patrick and Billy with the initial funds to print and sell the t-shirts.
From there, it was the local community who stepped up. When news broke of the fundraiser Billy and Patrick Mornings, it didn’t take long for them to raise the required funds. With the $2,500 requisite met, work on renaming the overpass began.
The official dedication ceremony for the Merle Haggard Memorial Overpass will be held on Oct. 25. The Haggards are invited to the ceremony. Currently, no word is out yet on whether they will attend or not.