A hairpin turn is a sharp U-shaped curve in a road. A bobby pin is a type of hairpin. It has a sharp U-shaped curve at the end without the opening.
If reading this to your grandkids or great-grandkids, take a few minutes to explain the uses and needs of a bobby pin.
The Highway 21 Hairpin Turn
There are two Grant County hairpin turns, which have been known to me for years. One is on Highway 21, when heading from Wilbur to Keller Ferry in Grant County. This is a steep and curvy road heading down the breaks of the Columbia River. It is a most severe example of a hairpin turn.
The hairpin turn is in a steep section of the drop to the Columbia. It is clear, by looking at the map, the area on both sides of the curve have been enlarged a bit, which gives more room for vehicles to maneuver.
The road has been made less dangerous because of the enlargement. This expansion has become an impromptu observation spot because it is so well constructed and the view is spectacular.
The Krupp Death Loop
Another example is just outside of the Town of Krupp. It has been nicknamed The Krupp Death Loop by me. It isn’t clear if anyone has actually been killed at this spot, but it is a wonder there hasn’t been an accident or two or three.
It is obvious, or it seems to be obvious, this is an old wagon road, when the wheat farmers were taking wheat to the grain elevators at Krupp with horse and wagon. These days there is no need for the gradual slope.
Wheat farmers continue to use the road to haul wheat to the elevators at Krupp. I’m told in “the good old days,” one farmer, seeing a truck heading down the road when there was another heading up, would stop and let the loaded truck continue down, before the empty truck proceeded up and around the Death Loop.
These days, however, there are loaded potato trucks, the long ones resembling semitrucks, traveling this road and the Death Loop at fast speeds. They don’t stop or slow down for nothing, well at least not for much.
Recently the road width was measured at the middle of the loop. The outside width was 11 feet, while the inside width was 12 feet. This may be well within the Grant County requirements for a road width, but the severity of the loop/curve makes it dangerous. The road is actually narrower a few yards up the hill.
The Krupp Death Loop is unusual for another reason. The loop is actually in Lincoln County, while the rest of the road is in Grant County. Maintaining the road falls to Grant County, even the loop, because Grant maintains Road X, which is north of Krupp, and Road W, which is south of Krupp. The road maintainers need to take the trip out there to maintain the rest of the roads, so they take care of Lincoln County’s Death Loop.
This is a dangerous Death Loop, for sure. My suggestion is for the two counties to take care of this spot. The inside part of the loop could be expanded, making it safer. Or, the loop could be eliminated, making the road a straight shot up the hill.
Yes, yes, this all takes money and time. Of course, the Krupp Death Loop concerns would/could be elevated if someone was killed at the loop. Even then the priority might not move up much, unless the person killed is your wife or your husband or your daughter or your son.
Dennis note: Let me know of other hazardous road areas in Grant County.
E-mail from Cheryl
Facts from the past gleaned from the Moses Lake Herald, Columbia Basin Herald and The Neppel Record by Cheryl (Driggs) Elkins:
From the Columbia Basin Herald on Aug. 22, 1941:
Grant Co. girls receive degrees
The Central Washington College of Education, Ellensburg, awarded 92 B.A. degrees and 64 three-year teaching certificates at the end of the summer session of the school’s golden anniversary year last week. Among those receiving B.A. degrees were Miss Emma Roth of Warden and Miss Amy Weber of Quincy.