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AZ US 89 Repaired and Reopened Today

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The AZ US 89 highway landslide took more than two years and $60 million in emergency repair transportation funds to fix and reopen and provide an alternate route through the Navajo Nation

Sedona AZ (March 27, 2015) –  At 4:15 p.m. today, Arizona US 89 south of Page was reopened to traffic for the first time following a February 20, 2013, landslide that caused catastrophic damage to the roadway, requiring a 23-mile closure between the junction of AZ State Route 98 in Page and AZ US 89A near Bitter Springs.

In order to reopen the US 89 roadway today, the Arizona Department of Transportation completed an extensive $25 million repair, which included removing approximately one million cubic yards of rock material to realign a 1,500-foot section of roadway and construct a down slope rock buttress at the base of the Echo Cliffs to stabilize the area.

School buses from the Page Unified School District were the first vehicles to pass through the newly rebuilt roadway.

For more than two years, community members and schoolchildren of Bitter Springs, Marble Canyon, and Cedar Ridge have used Temporary US 89 (opened in August 2013) and other alternate routes to and from the Page and Lake Powell areas following the US 89 landslide.

“”This is great news for those living and working in the area,”” said Page Arizona Mayor Bill Diak. ““It will shorten the commute of our schoolchildren that live below the closure by some 94 miles a day. For many of the river-related businesses, this means that their days just became more profitable. For the city of Page, this means we will get our main access back. Life is good in Page and now even easier to get to. Come and enjoy!””

Temporary US 89 (US89T) served as the primary detour route to connect to the Page and Lake Powell areas after a $35 million project to upgrade Navajo Route 20. US89T is expected to be relinquished to the Navajo Nation on April 17, 2015, when the State Transportation Board convenes in Phoenix. The 44-mile route was mostly a dirt road before being paved during a three-month-long project in summer 2013.

Prior to starting the US 89 landslide repair in summer 2014, ADOT had to clear several significant hurdles to keep the project moving forward. After an extensive geotechnical assessment identified the necessary repairs in July 2013, ADOT retained an engineering firm through an innovative construction delivery method (Construction Manager at Risk), which allowed the contractor to work directly with the design team and develop plans for the eventual repair. ADOT and the team also finalized all federally required environmental reviews that included cultural, biological and water quality measures, and completed plans for the required right-of-way easements with the Navajo Nation.

““The damage to the roadway looked like a scene out of a Hollywood movie and, unfortunately, a quick fix was not possible,”” said ADOT Intermodal Transportation Division Director Steve Boschen. “”From day one we were committed to restoring mobility to the area as soon as possible with the paving of N20 (US 89T), but the real fix is now here with today’’s opening.”

“Reopening US 89 was the final step in the highway repair process and, with a commitment from partners that included the Navajo Nation, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Navajo Division of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, and ADOT contractors FNF Construction and Kleinfelder, the US 89 repairs were expedited and challenges met.”

The US 89 landslide repair project is eligible for reimbursement through the Federal Highway Administration Emergency Relief Program, which provides funding to state and local agencies for the repair or reconstruction of highways, roads and bridges that are damaged in natural disasters and catastrophic failures.

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  1. Welcome news . . . . avoided going that way w/boat because of road & will put back on fishing route.

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