California Department of Transportation

Last Chance Grade

Located on Route 101 in Del Norte County, 10 miles south of Crescent City, Last Chance Grade is an area of highway prone to geological activity. A 2000 geological study conducted by the California Geological Survey mapped over 200 active slides within the corridor area. Caltrans has performed both maintenance and construction activities on Route 101 designed to keep this vital route connecting Del Norte County with parts south.

Latest News:

Check out the new Last Chance Grade website at

Engineered Feasibility Study

Frequently Asked Questions

A study has been completed to determine the economic impact of a major slide closing U.S. Highway 101 at the Last Chance Grade.

The Last Change Grade Partners hosted a series of community workshops in January, 2015 to get public input and ideas on a range of possible alternatives for Last Chance Grade. The documents displayed at the workshops:

Current Projects

Engineered Feasibility Study

A Caltrans Engineered Feasibility Study (EFS) for Last Chance Grade has been released. The study is a detailed investigation that considers a full range of needs, options, ideas, opportunities, and constraints. The EFS will be used as a reference document identifying potential improvement projects, enabling Caltrans to respond to and compete for various project funding sources as they become available.

Caltrans, the California Department of Parks and Recreation, the National Park Service, the Yurok Tribe, the Smith River Rancheria, and the Elk Valley Rancheria, California were collaborative partners in the development of the Last Chance Grade Engineered Feasibility Study. Executive Summaries of the Partnering Meetings are available below:

Completed Projects

Soldier Pile Wall

This Emergency Opening project located near post mile 15.3 is designed to slow the movement of a slipout within the larger Last Chance Grade slide complex, to protect an existing wall completed in 2010 from further damage, and to reduce the frequency of repairs and delays to the traveling public. This $4.8 million (budgeted) project was completed in November 2013. The project included drilling 27 piles at a maximum depth of 80 feet for a soldier pile ground anchor wall, reconstructing portions of the roadway surface, and repairing drainage facilities damaged by the slipout.  The contractor working on the Emergency Opening project was CalEx Engineering Company.

An Emergency Soil Nail project at post mile 15.0 was completed in spring 2012.


Future Projects

A project to repair two slipouts at post mile 15.1. As of result the March 2011 Federally Declared Storm Event, a slipout occurred that resulted in the failure of a portion of roadway shoulder, and loss of embankment fill below the roadway.  The repair at this location will likely consist of construction of a soil nail wall.  Construction is planned for summer 2016.

A project to restore shoulder width using a soldier pile tie-back wall at post mile 15.0.  The location of this project is the same location where a soil nail wall was constructed to prevent loss of the roadway in 2012.  The purpose of this project is to regain roadway shoulder width that was lost during the March 2012 storms.  This will be accomplished through construction of a Soldier Pile Ground Anchor Wall in front of the soil nail wall that was constructed in 2012.  Construction is planned for 2017.


Last Chance Grade

Other Documents


For more information, contact:

Last Chance Grade Project Team
Phone: (707) 445-6465, TTY 711

Public Information (Media Inquiries)
Eli Rohl
Phone: (707) 441-3998, TTY 711