Nighttime and speed restrictions have been lifted on U.S. 89T after fencing along the corridor to help prevent livestock from crossing the roadway was completed, according to a release from the Arizona Department of Transportation.
The temporary route opened with limited access on Aug. 29, only three months after construction began the $35 million project to pave Navajo Route 20, which became necessary after a Feb. 20 landslide destroyed U.S. 89 about 25 miles south of Page. The road closure forced drivers to use a 115-mile detour, until the temporary highway could be opened.
The 44-mile-long U.S. 89T route runs parallel to U.S. 89 from The Gap to LeChee and is accessible from U.S. 89, approximately 17 miles north of the U.S. 160 junction (Tuba City exit). Previously a Navajo Nation roadway, U.S. 89T will be maintained by ADOT while it is in use as a detour.
The temporary highway is not part of the ultimate solution to repair U.S. 89, which suffered a landslide that buckled pavement along the mountain slope in the Echo Cliffs area.
ADOT’s proposed solution is to move the travel lanes away from the active landslide and construct a rock structure to stabilize the area. The $40 million repair project is slated to begin construction by mid-2014, pending environmental and right-of-way clearances..
ADOT has a range of communication tools, including a website dedicated to keeping the public informed about the status of the closure and alternate travel routes, including U.S. 89T, complemented by up-to-date video and photos of the roadway damage on U.S. 89.
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