ADOT expects to reopen US 89 near Page this month

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PAGE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -  A stretch of Highway 89 near Page is scheduled to reopen this month, about two years after a landslide forced its closure.

The Arizona Department of Transportation expects to reopen the highway to traffic in the afternoon on Friday, March, 27, barring potential weather delays or mechanical breakdowns during the paving process.

Crews began paving the roadway Wednesday, and will add rumble strips, guardrail, and temporary striping and pavement markers before the reopening.

The $25 million repair project, which is eligible for reimbursement through the Federal Highway Administration's emergency relief program, included removing 1 million cubic yards of rock material to realign the roadway and constructing a downslope rock buttress at the base of the Echo Cliffs to stabilize the area. 

The landslide ripped apart a 500-foot section of the highway about two miles north of the US 89/US 89A junction, cutting off the main link in and out of Page and Lake Powell.

Navajo Route 20 was paved in August 2013 to serve as a detour route, but residents in the Bitter Springs and Marble Canyon communities have had to go out of their way to travel to the Page and Lake Powell areas.

“ADOT recognizes the importance of this corridor and what it means to the communities of Bitter Springs, Cedar Ridge and Marble Canyon,” ADOT Intermodal Transportation Division Director Steve Boschen said in a statement. “While the Feb. 20, 2013, landslide event was certainly unexpected and a severe blow to the area, it was a reminder about how critical transportation infrastructure is to the motorists, businesses, local residents and schoolchildren who rely on it every day."

Page Unified School District buses are expected to be among the first vehicles to use the newly rebuilt highway.

“The reopening of Highway 89 is great news for Page Unified School District and the families that we serve in the communities of Marble Canyon, Bitter Springs and Cedar Ridge,” Page Unified School District Superintendent Jim Walker said in a statement. “The district will be now be able to re-establish our traditional bus runs to these communities, which will reduce the time that some of these children spend on our buses by up to an hour on a one-way trip. I would like thank our families for their efforts to continue to support their children's school attendance during this very challenging time.”

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