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.
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
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