Jared Huffman presses US transportation secretary on Last Chance Grade funding

March 28, 2021

North Coast. U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman questioned U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg during a hearing last week, highlighting the precarious nature of Last Chance Grade on U.S. Highway 101 just south of Crescent City.

Huffman invited Buttigieg to visit the North Coast to see “one of the most beautiful places in the world” while noting “I would love to show you a lot of aging and failing infrastructure, including highways, roads, and bridges.”

“I believe that if you’re endlessly fixing a section of highway that keeps failing you shouldn’t use expensive band-aids forever. … The poster child for this problem is on a rugged stretch of coastline in my district just south of Crescent City where Highway 101 clings sometimes to a very steep, crumbling cliff high above the ocean,” Huffman told Buttigieg. “It’s known as Last Chance Grade, and because the hillside is constantly sliding, the road is often closed for weeks or months at a time while Caltrans figures out another way to temporarily keep it from falling into the ocean. This is our main north-south transportation corridor … and we know that a massive failure that would cost the region $130 million annually, in addition to whatever lives would be lost, is just a matter of time.”

Last Chance Grade is a three-mile section of Highway 101 that has been sliding for decades. In recent weeks, the area has seen a revolving door of openings and closings amid landslides that completely covered the roadway. Three workers were injured in the middle of March after a tree fell.

Source: Eureka Times Standard