Saturday, May 2, 2020

Five 101 Closures at Last Chance Grade Coming in May

Posted By on Sat, May 2, 2020 at 11:45 AM

click to enlarge Officials have considered rerouting Last Chance Grade inland since the current route was cut in 1933. - PHOTO BY MARK MCKENNA
  • Photo by Mark McKenna
  • Officials have considered rerouting Last Chance Grade inland since the current route was cut in 1933.
Caltrans will be fully shutting down U.S. Highway 101 at Last Chance Grade overnight five times in May to conduct roadwork needed to stabilize the notorious stretch of road in Del Norte County.

According to a Facebook post, the closures on May 11, 12 and 13 will take place from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. On May 14 and May 15, the shutdowns are planned for 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. and from 1:30 a.m. to 6 a.m.

“Emergency services will be accommodated through the closure if necessary,” the post states. “Electronic overhead signs will also be used to notify motorists of the plan.”

Environmental and geotechnical studies are underway or being planned to help move along an estimated $300 million to $1 billion project to build an alternative route around the 3-mile section of road that has shifted 50 feet to the west since 1937.

Over the last decade, more than $55 million has been spent on temporary fixes to keep the vital link between the northern reaches of California and the rest of the state open. Read more about Last Chance Grade here and here.

The Caltrans post states the work is needed to correct a low section of roadway and instituting the nighttime closures will significantly speed up the completion timeline.

“We need to backfill the roadway, which is the live lane, a maximum of 10 feet to accommodate ground anchor drilling at the wall on the west side of the roadway,” said Karen Sanders, resident engineer for the Last Chance Grade Project, in the post. “We must fill the roadway in order to continue to move the project forward."

Read the Caltrans Facebook post below:

Attention to those that travel through Last Chance Grade along U.S. Highway 101 south of Crescent City: Caltrans is planning to enact five full nighttime closures from just north of Wilson Creek Bridge (PM 13.3) to Humboldt Rd (PM 23.8) to accelerate progress on our work there.

The overnight highway closure in that area will be in effect from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. the nights of May 11, 12, and 13. Then, the nights of May 14 and 15, we are planning to close the highway from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. and from 1:30 a.m. to 6 a.m.

Emergency services will be accommodated through the closure if necessary. Electronic overhead signs will also be used to notify motorists of the plan.

This work will allow us to continue correcting a low section of roadway. We’ve determined this handful of nighttime closures could reduce backfill time for this particular section from two or three weeks to just five nights.

“We need to backfill the roadway, which is the live lane, a maximum of 10 feet to accommodate ground anchor drilling at the wall on the west side of the roadway,” said Karen Sanders, Resident Engineer for the Last Chance Grade Project. “We must fill the roadway in order to continue to move the project forward." 
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Kimberly Wear

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Kimberly Wear is the assistant editor of the North Coast Journal.

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