ADOT: Construction could begin this summer on US 89 landslide repairs

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PAGE, Ariz. -- State transportation officials say construction could begin early this summer on emergency repairs planned for Highway 89, which was closed south of Page after a landslide last winter.

The Arizona Department of Transportation said it submitted the final environmental documentation Wednesday to the Federal Highway Administration for review. The agency's approval would allow the state to use federal funds for the project under an emergency relief program.

Meanwhile, ADOT said it is finalizing the design of the repairs and working to obtain right-of-way easements.

ADOT said it must reach an agreement with the Federal Highway Administration, Navajo Nation and Bureau of Indian Affairs to establish an expanded easement for construction, operations and maintenance purposes.

If there are no problems with the environmental review, utilities and right-of-way easements, the project could be completed by the end of the year, ADOT said.

The rebuilding of the 23-mile stretch is expected to cost $25 million. The project includes moving the roadway about 60 feet toward Echo Cliffs and using that rock to construct a downslope buttress to stabilize the area, ADOT said.

The landslide occurred on Feb. 20, 2013, cutting off the main link in and out of Page and Lake Powell. The highway has been closed between Bitter Springs and the State Route 98 junction near Page.

Motorists have been using Navajo Route 20, which was paved after the landslide to provide a shorter alternate route than the original from U.S. 160 to State Route 98. The paving took about three months to complete.

The geological investigation of the damaged area was completed in July, according to ADOT.

"Our final goal ... is to complete the U.S. 89 reconstruction by advancing the necessary environmental, utility and right-of-way clearances as diligently as possible while complying with all the regulations in conjunction with our Navajo Nation partners and other regulatory stakeholders," said Jennifer Toth, state engineer and deputy director for transportation. “This project remains a top priority for ADOT and our project partners.”