The California Transportation Commission this week will consider an allocation of $5 million to begin the environmental review process on the bypass around Last Chance Grade, State Sen. Mike McGuire’s office announced Monday.

The California Transportation Commission meets Thursday, according to McGuire spokeswoman Kerrie Lindecker.

At the 2018 Del Norte Economic Summit on Friday, the state senator said he was notified on Thursday that $5 million was secured to kick off the environmental review process for the alternate route around the slide-prone area of U.S. 101 south of Crescent City. This is in addition to another $5 million that came from the California Transportation Commission enabling Caltrans to begin geotechnical studies on potential alignments around the slide.

According to a press release from McGuire’s office, geotechnical studies on the alternative routes are expected to be finished this fall while seismic studies will be finished in fall 2019.

Caltrans has identified seven alternative routes around Last Chance Grade, including keeping the existing highway as-is. The geotechnical studies are the beginning of the environmental review phase of the realignment of Last Chance Grade, Caltrans spokesman Miles Cochrane told the Triplicate in May 2017. The environmental review part of the project is expected to begin this summer and last through 2026.

On Friday McGuire said he is challenging Caltrans to speed up the environmental review process.

“Constructing an inland route is imperative for the livelihood of Del Norte’s economy and the public’s safety,” McGuire said in a written statement Monday. “I am excited that after decades of work, we are finally taking steps toward a permanent fix.”

The first $5 million for the geotechnical studies of the project was secured after portions of the highway at Last Chance Grade collapsed last year. McGuire, along with the state secretary of transportation and the director of Caltrans, visited the area shortly after the slide.

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