PAGE, Ariz. - The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) will likely begin paving U.S. 89T (N20) at the end of May. The agency expects to complete the work late in the summer.
A landslide buckled pavement and closed U.S. 89 north of Bitter Springs and south of Page Feb. 20.
The primary detour to and from Page and the Lake Powell area uses U.S. 160 and State Route 98, but the 115-mile-long detour, which is 45 miles longer than the direct route, is likely a burden on drivers who have to use it every day.
By paving N20, ADOT will cut the detour route nearly in half and make it close to the length of the normal U.S. 89 route.
Repaving on U.S. 160, 14 miles of the detour route, 25 miles west of Kayenta began May 13.
Improvements to N20 include paving the 27-mile unpaved segment and installing fencing, cattle passes, cattle guards and signage.
ADOT will consider building bus pullouts along side N20. Once paving is complete, ADOT will allow commercial trucks on N20, officially name the road US 89T (N20) and provide maintenance on the road.
Once ADOT completes paving of N20, the agency will designate the tribal road as Temporary State Route 89 (SR 89T). After the reconstruction of U.S. 89 is complete, ADOT would relinquish SR 89T to the Navajo Nation. There is no timetable for reopening the highway.
Currently, U.S. 89 is closed to all traffic with the exception of authorized ADOT crews and emergency vehicles. This area is unstable and is not safe for public travel. Authorities are enforcing strict safety measures on U.S. 89 to ensure the safety of the crews and emergency vehicles. Additional security fencing and ongoing efforts to monitor the site are in place to prevent security breaches.
The completed Draft Final Geotechnical Report is expected at the end of May and will provide recommendations for repairs to U.S. 89. ADOT said it is committed to restoring the travel route as soon as is safely possible.
More information about the ongoing work on U.S. 89 and videos can be found at www.azdot.gov/us89.