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.
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:
- Slides from the PowerPoint presentation (PDF 5.2M)
- Map of the preliminary alternatives (JPEG 626K)
- Summary of the preliminary alternatives (PDF 55K)
- Map of the geological survey (JPEG 795K)
- Map of the cultural and environmental resources (JPEG 863K)
Engineered Feasibility Study
A Caltrans engineered feasibility study for Last Chance Grade is currently underway. The study is a detailed investigation that considers a full range of needs, options, ideas, opportunities, and constraints. “We are excited to have an opportunity to take a closer look at this section of Route 101,” said Brad Mettam, District 1 Deputy District Director for Planning and Local Assistance. “We look forward to receiving public input and ideas as the study progresses. The Last Chance Grade corridor area has over 200 active slides according to a geological study from 2000. We are looking to discover creative solutions for this portion of highway.” Once completed, the engineered feasibility study 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 River Rancheria California are collaborative partners in the development of the Last Chance Grade Engineered Feasibility Study. The Partners will be meeting monthly for the duration of the study. Executive Summaries of the Partnering Meetings are available below:
- Executive Summary: Last Chance Grade Feasibility Partnering Kick-Off Meeting - March 19, 2014 (PDF 160K)
- Executive Summary: Last Chance Grade Feasibility Study Partnering Meeting - April 16, 2014 (PDF 141K)
- Executive Summary: Last Chance Grade Feasibility Study Partnering Meeting - May 29, 2014 (PDF 35K)
- Executive Summary: Last Chance Grade Feasibility Study Partnering Meeting - June 19, 2014 (PDF 21K)
- Executive Summary: Last Chance Grade Feasibility Study Partnering Meeting - November 6, 2014 (PDF 180K)
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.
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.
- Slides from presentation before Del Norte Local Transportation Commission on October 10, 2013 (PDF 2.8M)
- Last Chance Grade - A Closer Look at a Vital Segment of US Highway 101 - FAQ (PDF 176K)
- Project Study Report/Project Report: Wilson Creek Safety Project, 2008 (PDF 6.5 MB)
- Supplemental Project Study Report: Last Chance Grade, 2003 (PDF 16.3 MB)
- Value Analysis Report: SR 101 Roadway Stabilization, 2002 (PDF 4.7 MB)
- California Geological Survey Report, 2000 (PDF 1.75 MB)
- Project Study Report: Stabilize Roadway, 1995 (PDF 4.5 MB)
- US Route 101 in Del Norte County: A Corrdior Study, 1993 (PDF 10.0 MB)
- Project Study Report: Wilson Creek Bluffs Bypass, 1987 (PDF 400KB)
For more information, contact:
Last Chance Grade Project Team
Phone: (707) 445-6465, TTY 711
Public Information (Media Inquiries)
Phone: (707) 441-3998, TTY 711