HIGHWAY 94 IMPROVEMENT - MURPHY’S CURVE

 

In case you do not know where “Murphy’s Curve” is - it is the severe curve on Dulzura Summit downgrade when traveling east out of Dulzura, just prior to reaching Barrett Café.  This was and continues to be one of the most treacherous stretches of road on Highway 94.  The pioneers went through Mexico to avoid this and other mountain terrain.

It is called Murphy’s Curve because people who lived on the south side of the first curve were named Murphy.  The house burned many years ago, but you can still see a large eucalyptus tree that was in their yard.  A lot of work has been done on these curves over a long period of time.

Where the  current road goes through the mountain going east,  you can still see evidence of the old road in two places.  You can look to the south and see where the old road circled the mountain.  On the second mountain going down it was very steep and lots of bad accidents occurred there.  It was difficult to negotiate that last curve if you were going very fast.  You can park on the straight stretch at the mountain pass and walk the old road and see how bad it really was.  That same old road passed across the current Highway 94 and swung close to the mountain on the left or north side of the road before it jointed back up with our current Highway 94 at the straight stretch prior to Barrett Café.

I could not find out the exact date or details when this was changed the first time, but from old-timers and my own memory, it was around 1960.  There was a lot of blasting and excavation to accomplish this road realignment.  This made the road much safer and straighter and a wonderful road improvement for all who drove SR94, however, it was still narrow.

In 1988 bids were let for the last improvements.  They called for modernizing of the section west of Summit Drive in Dulzura for 1.4 miles toward Barrett Junction.  The project was to realign the road to increase sight distance around curves.  The gradient was to be improved and an eight foot emergency shoulders was to be constructed.  Stimpel-Wiebelhaus, Inc of Redding submitted the lowest bid of $1,375,173.   The project was completed in 1989.  This is the road we currently drive and a section to be improved with the new passing lanes.

The current proposed construction for this same stretch of road will add a 12 foot westbound passing lane going up the hill, and also add an eastbound shoulder of 8 feet at the west end of the location.  The resulting highway at the sharp curve at the middle of this curve would have four lanes. 

 

We need these passing lanes to handle the existing car and truck traffic.   Based on traffic studies this is the only sensible solution for our safety.

 

Picture 43 - Road Work

        44 - Road Work  

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