OF HIGHWAY 80
about 1918 our Highway 94 was the main road to Yuma.
After the Mountain Springs and plank road in Imperial Valley were
completed there was a demand for a better
main road out of San Diego to this area. Col. Ed Fletcher (14) was instrumental in this effort
and under his leadership he
promoted Highway 80.
There were, and are,
three major routes to the north and east of San Diego.
One, was the coast route to Los Angeles, another the inland route
north to Riverside and the third Highway 80 to the east.
This was the hardest to build, because of the terrain.
Even after completion of the Mountain Springs grade and the plank
road, travel to Yuma and points beyond was fraught with danger.
The first Highway 80 followed about the same route as today's
Interstate 8, but at Bankhead Springs it dropped directly south and
followed the path of Highway 94 down Mountain Springs.
Finally in 1927, the Federal
Government allocated funds for interstate highways and a narrow, concrete
highway was built from San Diego to the Imperial Valley.
Although it was paved, it was built to the contour of the terrain
and had many dangerous curves. In
the early 1930ís, a wider, better, two lane road was built and it was
improved periodically until the present interstate was built.
Had Highway 80 not been built, we would have had the bulk of the
traffic on Highway 94.
Back in March of 1941 San
Diego Union ran an article regarding a proposal by the Board of
Supervisors to use prison labor to build a low altitude highway (not over
3800 feet) running parallel between Highway 80 and Highway 94. It would branch off Highway 94 at Engineers Springs near
Jamul and follow Mexican Canyon into Lee Valley and Lyons Valley until
Barrett reservoir is reached. It
crossed Barrett Lake on a bridge at the narrowest point, the new road
skirted the south end of that reservoir into Houser Canyon and follow the
natural route into Warren, a short distance north of Campo.
Other similar alternate routes were being considered.
I donít know what happened to this proposal, but my guess would
be World War II came along and there was more important business to attend
to. Had this come to
pass, our back country and roads would be entirely different today.
Highway 80 was eventually
constructed through El Cajon Valley and across the mountains.
It intersected with Highway 94 at Boulevard.
Demands by the traveling public and commercial freight haulers for
a high speed route to the east grew louder.
A political decision was made in Sacramento that a new multi-land
freeway would follow the route of Highway 80 (which made people living on
Highway 94 very happy). Had
they made a different decision it could have changed our entire back
map showing proposed highway