Wednesday, March 11, 2015

US89 readying to re-open after two years of reconstruction following massive landslide

 ADOT announced today that US89 will re-open on March 27, more than two years after a landslide tore up a section of the highway causing $45 million in direct costs and uncounted economic losses to the city of Page and commercial traffic routed across a long detour.   A massive rock buttress was constructed at the base of the slope because landslide deposits extend along essentially the entire mountain front.    The figures below show the  size and location of the buttress but because of the scale of the project it is difficult to fully comprehend it.   ADOT has an extensive photo gallery and history of the project online -

 Excerpts from ADOT's announcement are below:

Two years after a landslide ripped apart a 500-foot section of US 89 and split the communities of Bitter Springs and Page, the Arizona Department of Transportation anticipates reopening the highway to traffic on the afternoon of Friday, March 27, barring any potential weather delays or mechanical breakdowns during the paving process, which began today.

Page Unified School District buses are expected to be the first vehicles to pass through newly rebuilt roadway. Students from the Bitter Springs and Marble Canyon areas have been among the most impacted by the US 89 closure, which has remained in place following the Feb. 20, 2013, geologic event approximately two miles north of the US 89/US 89A junction near the community of Bitter Springs.

Following the paving of Temporary US 89 in August 2013, US 89T has served as the detour route for motorists headed to and from the Page and Lake Powell areas, but residents and students in the Bitter Springs and Marble Canyon communities have still had to go out of their way to travel to and from Page and Lake Powell.

Prior to the March 27 reopening, crews will be completing the paving, install rumble strips and guardrail, and add temporary striping and pavement markers along the roadway.
Prior to launching the $25 million repair project last summer, which included removing approximately one million cubic yards of rock material to realign the roadway and construct a downslope rock buttress at the base of the Echo Cliffs to stabilize the area, ADOT had to clear several hurdles to move the project forward.

The ultimate repair of US 89 is the final step in fulfilling ADOT’s three-pronged approach to the US 89 landslide incident, which included providing immediate emergency access, conducting a geotechnical investigation and restoring essential traffic to the area. Paving US 89T (Navajo Route 20) has been the short-term solution for motorists driving to and from Page.

After an extensive geotechnical assessment identified the necessary repairs in July 2013, ADOT retained an engineering firm and developed plans for the eventual repair; finalized all federally required environmental reviews that included cultural, biological and water quality measures; and completed plans for the required right-of-way easements.

ADOT, along with the Federal Highway Administration, Navajo Nation, Navajo Division of Transportation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, were able to expedite the environmental, utility and right-of-way clearance process, knowing that the use of US 89T was a temporary fix, especially for the Bitter Springs area communities.

The US 89 landslide repair project is eligible for reimbursement through the Federal Highway Administration’s 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.

For more information, visit

Read more at:

No comments:

Post a Comment