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$40 million to finalize environmental impact report for Last Chance Grade requested by McGuire, Wood, Huffman and Caltrans

February 8, 2019 – Sacramento, CA – For decades, the residents of Del Norte and Humboldt Counties have been in search of a permanent fix for Highway 101’s Last Chance Grade as it continues to slide into the Pacific.

The Last Chance Grade is the lifeblood of Del Norte County’s economy and a catastrophic failure would have a $1-1.5 billion negative impact on the regional economy.

Over the last 24 months, progress has been made. More funding was advanced compared to any other time in history through the State of California’s $10 million investment in the geotechnical studies and the launch of the environmental study, which will narrow down all the inland route options to one preferred option.

Today, a partnership including Congressman Jared Huffman, Senator Mike McGuire, and Assemblymember Jim Wood, are thrilled to announce that Caltrans will request the final $40 million needed to complete the overall Last Chance Grade environmental study.

Caltrans plans for the request to be on the California Transportation Commission’s March agenda. The $40 million would cover the costs for all of the necessary environmental work.

“This final $40 million needed for the environmental study puts an end to the band-aid approach to fixing the Last Chance Grade,” said Senator McGuire. “Everyone has been working together on a permanent fix and we finally have the momentum to get this job done. We have been grateful to partner with Assemblymember Wood, Congressman Huffman, the Del Norte Board of Supervisors, Crescent City Council and Caltrans on this critical project.  While this is a day to celebrate, we know the real work is still ahead.” 

Over the past decade, more than $55 million has been spent on temporary fixes to protect the Last Chance Grade right of way. If approved, the $40 million request from Caltrans to the California Transportation Commission will secure all the necessary funds for the environmental impact report needed to design a long-term fix for the Last Chance Grade.

“In the past couple of years, thanks to our work together, Last Chance Grade has finally begun receiving the attention it needs,” said Rep. Huffman, a member of the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, which just held a hearing on the need and urgency for action on transportation infrastructure needs. “I convened the Last Chance Grade Stakeholders Group to explore permanent solutions to this serious economic and safety risk, and that group needs—and the broader community deserves—the information that will be gathered through this environmental impact report to determine how best to route the highway to provide safe transportation, while protecting the precious natural resources of beautiful Del Norte County.”

“Constructing a lasting and permanent fix for the Last Chance Grade is a massive project,” said Assemblymember Wood. “Creating an alternative route that will endure decades of use and support the local economy while protecting our beautiful coastal environment is the challenge. The funding for this phase of the project is critical to that end, and I want to acknowledge the patience of the community and thank them for understanding the importance of the process in meeting our long-term goal.”

Significant geotechnical work is currently underway on the Last Chance Grade and the funding for the final environmental studies will bring the project to its next phase.

While there are numerous safety procedures in place, there is no viable alternative route in the event of a complete failure of the roadway due to a landslide. Without a detour, complete failure would isolate Del Norte County from the North Coast of California. Residents could be cut off from medical care, schools, and other important services and the economic impacts would be devastating.

3 Responses to $40 million to finalize environmental impact report for Last Chance Grade requested by McGuire, Wood, Huffman and Caltrans

  1. Samuel Strait Reply

    February 28, 2019 at 12:42 pm

    Keep in mind in just the past week we have 101 to the north and south closed to all traffic for periods of time. 199 has experienced some small slides and traffic accidents to hinder traffic as well. The $40 million for studies if they are approved is only part of the story for which the total cost for the actual construction will increase over time. There will be opposition no matter which route is chosen, which will also increase the cost to the point that no matter how much Congressman Huffman, State Senator McGuire, and Assemblymember Wood mouth empty words it will very likely have to become a federal project and those that voted against rescinding the State gas tax will have egg on their collective faces. California is in such horrible financial shape that people are fleeing the State. If Sacramento led by progressive democrats continues on its current path, the State will shortly be unable to meet it’s current financial obligations let alone highway infrastructure needs no matter how much Prop 6 generates. The signs of the State’s continued path to ruin are every where. It doesn’t take much more than to read and listen to understand what has occurred in democratically controlled urban centers nation wide to see the whole state of California’s future. Progressivism, socialism, or what ever you wish to call it, has been and is the road to ruin.

  2. Leslie Barnes Reply

    February 27, 2019 at 8:10 pm

    After thinking about Last Change Grade again who cameup with the 40 Million Dollar number? Doesn’t that seem like a lot of Money for a study? Also what is the real time for a detour if one is needed actually 6 hours?

  3. Leslie Barnes Reply

    February 9, 2019 at 8:46 am

    All I can say this is wonderful news and it’s about time!!!

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