Delay pushes back Last Chance Grade comment period

By Triplicate Staff April 23, 2014 10:15 am

Caltrans will have to extend a public comment period regarding the construction of a soil nail wall to be built on U.S. Highway 101’s Last Chance Grade after a scheduling error prevented environmental documents from being posted online last  weekend.

A public notice paid for by Caltrans District 1 that ran in Saturday’s Del Norte Triplicate said that environmental documents for an upcoming major project at Last Chance Grade were available online.

The Caltrans website says the documents will be available on Friday.

The document signals Caltrans’ intent to declare that the project would have minimal impact to Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, which U.S. Highway 101 runs through at Last Chance Grade.

There has recently been a local campaign to get Highway 101 rerouted around Last Chance Grade, which is notorious for landslides, including a complete road failure that killed two people in 1972.

The Last Chance Grade area has cost more than $36 million in maintenance and construction projects since 1980 alone, not counting the $8.5 million planned to be spent on future projects including the soil nail wall, which is intended to stabilize the roadway on alignment.

Caltrans is currently undertaking two important studies regarding Last Chance Grade: an economic impact study of what the true cost would be to local commerce in the event of a complete road failure and the Last Chance Grade Engineered Feasibility study, which is looking at the best alternatives for rerouting the highway.

U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman visited the site in December to show his support for finding a permanent solution for the dangerous section of highway 12 miles south of Crescent City.