The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) has eliminated all restrictions on the U.S. 89 detour (U.S. 89T), just months after the original U.S. 89 was destroyed by a landslide.
The $35 million detour was originally opened in late August (three months after construction on the detour began), but drivers experienced several restrictions. After some fencing along the corridor to keep livestock off the roadway, final lane striping and the installation of recessed pavement markings for safety, ADOT said all restrictions are gone and motorists can now travel its normal 55 mph speed.
About 500 ft of U.S. 89 buckled on Feb. 20, causing the roadway to slide, crack and tear. Since the roadway was so severely damaged, ADOT had to close a 23-mile stretch of U.S. 89, which resulted in extensive detours on a roadway that serves as a major route in the northern section of the state. Now, the 44-mile U.S. 89T runs parallel to U.S. 89 from the Gap to LeChee, which helps motorists better follow their original route. Prior to constructing U.S. 89T, drivers going to and from Page had a 115-mile alternate route along U.S. 160 and S.R. 98, a huge inconvenience.
ADOT officials said that U.S. 89T is not the solution to repair the original U.S. 89. Instead, ADOT proposed a solution to move the travel lanes away from the active landslide and create a rock structure to stabilize the area, which is estimated to cost about $40 million. ADOT hopes to begin construction on the roadway by mid-2014, pending environmental and right-of-way approvals.