Author Topic: Why Murphy Canyon Road?  (Read 9908 times)


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Why Murphy Canyon Road?
« on: December 18, 2010, 07:56:04 AM »
Why Murphy Canyon Road?

The Inland Route became part of the State Highway System in August 1931.  It was first reported to be Route 78 in an article August 20, 1931.  It was then stated that it was Route 77 in an article April 21, 1932.  It is unknown whether Route 78 was the original number over if it was a typo. 


On July 9, 1931 a rumor was reported that the State Highway system planned to realign the inland route from Moosa Canyon to Rainbow.  C. H. Purcell, State Highway Engineer, denied the rumors.  He stated there wasn’t a budget for such a construction project. 


The first realignment project reported was trying to bypass the Poway Grade.  On September 17, 1931 it was reported that the State Highway system was considering constructing a tunnel under the grade.  A survey team was sent to assess the feasibility.  By April 1932, the State was still contemplating tunneling through Poway’s hill.  Unfortunately, The Vista Press newspaper didn’t report the story to its conclusion.  I will have to search local papers to discover the final story.     


When the Inland Route was taken over by the State, Murphy Canyon was not on the route.  Supervisor Hurley petitioned the State to include Murphy Canyon in the highway system. 

Here is an excerpt from the Vista Press Newspaper:

State Urged to Take over Highways

One road in San Diego County was proposed by Supervisor Hurley to be included in the State secondary highway system. 
Murphy Canyon Road, a continuation of the Inland Highway which was taken into the State Highway system during the 1931 sessions of the legislature, and designed to carry traffic over the Fairmont extension to join the State Highway at San Ysidro.
At present, Hurley reported, the Inland Highway joins the State or Coast Highway at Old Town Bridge, which places all traffic on the inland route through a bottle neck going into San Diego and on south to the border.
It is Hurley’s contention that the Murphy Canyon Road would divert some of this traffic.  He asserted that this highway is justified because it connects the inland and coast highways, and is also an international highway, starting from the border.  The distance is about 25 miles, half of which traverses incorporated cities, leaving approximately 12 miles to be taken over by the State.  December 3, 1931
Source:  (Page 2)

I haven’t found a follow up article to this story yet.  I will have to search San Diego’s papers. 

Murphy Canyon wasn’t paved in August 1931, and according to a report, wasn’t paved until after July 1932.

Another clip from the Vista Press Newspaper:

Postpone Paving Murphy Canyon

Paving of Murphy Canyon Road, connecting East San Diego and the Inland highway, must wait until after July 1, the board of supervisors decided last week, when told by the county auditor that the fund from which the cost of the work would be met is already overdrawn.  April 7, 1932


Finally, on April 21, 1932, C. H. Purcell confirmed the rumors of a new route for the highway.  He stated that in the next ten years, several million dollars would be spent improving the highway, including a new bridge over the San Luis Rey River.  A new route would be built between Moosa Canyon and Rainbow.  However, the States first priority was the elimination of the Poway Grade.  There was no more information given on Murphy Canyon Road.   


Unfortunately, The Vista Press Newspaper stopped reporting on road construction midway through 1932.  Very little road activity was reported in the 1930s.  To further the Murphy Canyon story I will have to search the San Diego’s Union Tribune newspapers.  Hopefully I will have more to report later.

Here is a link to a 1947 San Diego City map that shows the route to Murphy Canyon Road.  It also shows the Cabrillo Freeway construction route through Murray Canyon.   


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Re: Why Murphy Canyon Road?
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2010, 02:46:43 PM »
I suspect the building of San Diego State, and the opening plans for the California Pacific International Exposition, had a lot to do with the highway going to East San Diego. It seems Supervisor Hurley's vision was fulfilled by I-15 and 805.

I've found that the San Diego papers are easily accessed in San Diego State's library. You can take a look at their old maps while you're at it.