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New Funding Sought for Last Chance Grade

More funding could be coming to the help fix the 3-mile-long stretch of U.S. Highway 101 in Del Norte County known as Last Chance Grade in the race to ward off the billion dollar economic loss a catastrophic failure could cost. Connecting California’s northern coastal reaches to the rest of the state, the roadway is falling into the Pacific, having shifted some 50 feet west since 1937. According to a release, Caltrans is slated to request $40 million from the California Transportation Commission to aid in finding a solution for the failing section with an ominous name. The money would go toward completing the environmental studies needed to move forward with a project that comes with just about every conceivable stumbling block possible — from old growth redwoods to unstable terrain to a United Nations’ World Heritage site. Then, there’s the price tag — estimated between $300 million to $1 billion, depending on which of six alternative routes move forward. Meanwhile, more than $55 million has been spent on temporary fixes over the last decade. Read previous Journal coverage about the complicated story of Last Chance Grade here , here and here . Some $10 million has already been invested in geotechnical studies and the initial environmental study in an effort to nail down which of the potential options would be the best one. “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 (Jim) Wood, Congressman (Jared) 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.” The funding request is slated to go before the commission in March. Read the Last Chance Grade release below: 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…

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