Monday, November 24, 2014 - Northern Arizona's Locally Owned Newspaper

Road to Page Closed Indefinitely

Highway 89a Page While US 89 is expected to remain closed indefinitely due to last Wednesday’s landslide 25 miles south of Page, motorists should consider their options and allow extra travel time if they are traveling between Flagstaff and Lake Powell or into Arizona from southern Utah via Page, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

A 23-mile-long stretch of US 89 (mileposts 523-546) is currently closed between the US 89A junction near Bitter Springs to the State Route 98 junction near Page.

Alternate routes include traveling east for 50 miles on US 160 to State Route 98 and northwest on SR 98 for 65 miles to Page. The detour adds an additional 45 miles over the direct route.

Motorists also have the option to take northbound US 89A through Marble Canyon toward Fredonia to reconnect to US 89 in southern Utah. On this scenic stretch, drivers may take a pit stop at the Marble Canyon-Navajo Bridge Rest Area. Motorists can reach Page using this route by traveling north to US 89 in Kanab, Utah and southbound on US 89. It’s an additional 80 miles longer than the direct route.

Drivers traveling from Utah to Phoenix can also consider taking Interstate 15 toward Las Vegas before connecting to southbound US 93 in Arizona to US 60 into the Phoenix area.

ADOT is also urging all commercial truck traffic to use one of the proposed alternate routes on state highways and avoid traveling on any local roads.

US 89 will remain closed for the immediate future. There is no timetable to reopen the highway, which has approximately 500 feet of damage, including 150 feet of pavement that buckled four-to-six feet due to a landslide and failure of the slope.

For up-to-date information on the US 89 closure, please visit www.azdot.gov/us89.

For the latest highway conditions across Arizona, visit ADOT’s Travel Information site at www.az511.gov or call 5-1-1 from any landline or mobile phone from anywhere in Arizona. Anywhere outside of Arizona, please call 1-888-411-ROAD (7623).

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Peshlakai urges governor to use emergency funds to repair collapsed highway inNorthern Arizona

 

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Responding to requests from many Arizonans in her district, Rep. Jamescita Peshlakai, D- Cameron (District 7), today urged the governor to use emergency funds to repair and reopen a portion of Arizona Highway 89 that collapsed last week.

 

In a letter, Peshlakai asked Gov. Jan Brewer to declare an official state of emergency and release money available within the Governor’s Emergency Fund to stabilize, repair and reopen the damaged portion of Highway 89 as quickly as possible.  Additionally, she asked that officials consider using emergency money to pave Indian Route 20 and the unpaved portion of Indian Route 21. Both routes reconnect the region to the rest of the state via Highway 89 and Highway 160.  

 

“We should be working with the Navajo Nation and other communities to make this bypass route a safe alternative until the repairs to Highway 89 are complete,” Peshlakai said.

 

The Arizona Department of Transportation recently sent a request for federal emergency funds but Peshlakai believes state emergency funds will be available faster.

 

“Many of the Arizonans living around the area of the collapsed highway are concerned about the safety of the remaining portions of the highway and the economic impact the closure will have,” Peshlakai said. “It is the primary corridor for the delivery of many goods. It is used to transport everything from groceries to gasoline to the area. Also, tourism around Lake Powell and the Colorado River, a major source of economic activity, will be negatively affected.  We must complete repairs as fast as possible.”

 

She also asked the governor to utilize the regulatory powers of state agencies to ensure unscrupulous individuals do not use this as an opportunity to take advantage of the residents in the communities who are now unable to use this main corridor of commerce. Peshlakai added that Arizonans living in the areas affected by the collapse of the highway do not have access to a nearby hospital, and are facing difficulties getting students to schools.

 

“Highway 89 must be reopened quickly,” Peshlakai said. “It is a matter of public safety and economic viability for this area.”

 

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The Arizona Department of Transportation is urging curious onlookers to avoid traveling near the damaged mountain slope on US 89, approximately 25 miles south of Page, because it could be dangerous.

The Echo Cliffs region is a known hiking area, but 30-foot chasms have been spotted near the damaged pavement and the area should be avoided.

ADOT has geotechnical engineers at the site, who are assessing the stability of the ground after a landslide on Feb. 20 forced the closure of US 89 between the US 89A junction near Bitter Springs and the State Route 98 junction near Page (mileposts 523-546).

After receiving environmental clearance on Monday, ADOT will soon begin drilling the shafts to deploy equipment that will measure slope movement at a specific location. Until it has been determined that the area is stable, ADOT cannot move forward with a design project to repair the highway.

Motorists, including all commercial truck traffic, are strongly advised to use one of the recommended alternate routes, which include traveling east on US 160 to SR 98 and northwest on SR 98 for 65 miles to Page. The detour adds an additional 45 miles over the direct route. Non-local traffic and trucks should not use Navajo Route 20; trucks are getting stuck on this mostly dirt road, which is not an appropriate substitute route for highway traffic.

Another option for drivers is to take northbound US 89A through Marble Canyon toward Fredonia to reconnect with US 89 in Kanab, Utah. US 89A remains open and is not affected by the US 89 closure near Echo Cliffs.

“Drivers really need to stick with one of the designated detour routes,” said Jennifer Toth, ADOT deputy director for transportation. “This is a popular area for outdoor enthusiasts and hikers, but until our geological experts can say with 100 percent certainty that last week’s shifting in the ground has stopped, motorists and pedestrians need to stay clear of the area.”

US 89 will remain closed for the immediate future. There is no timetable to reopen the highway, which has approximately 500 feet of damage, including 150 feet of pavement that buckled four-to-six feet due to a landslide and failure of the slope.

For up-to-date information on the US 89 closure, please visit www.azdot.gov/us89.

– See more at: http://www.azdot.gov/CCPartnerships/News/NRel3405.asp#sthash.LIq3P956.dpuf

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