PHOENIX —The reconstruction of US 89 between Bitter Springs and Page will begin later this month after the State Transportation Board approved a $25 million project to repair the landslide-damaged highway at Friday’s board meeting in Cottonwood, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.
The roadway, which suffered catastrophic damage following a landslide on the early morning of Feb. 20, 2013, has remained closed after a 500-foot section of roadway buckled in Echo Cliffs, approximately 25 miles south of Page.
The repair will include moving the roadway approximately 60 feet away from the landslide area toward Echo Cliffs and using rock material removed for the roadway realignment to construct a downslope buttress to stabilize the area.
The closed section of roadway is scheduled to reopen prior to next summer’s busy travel season. The construction contract will also include a monetary incentive for the contractor if it is able to complete the project ahead of schedule.
Work on the project will begin in a couple of weeks, but major work is expected to start in late August when crews begin drilling and blasting operations to build the rock buttress. Nearly 1 million cubic yards of rock material is expected to be removed and a 1,500-foot section of US 89 will be realigned with new pavement.
The ultimate repair of US 89 is the final step in fulfilling ADOT’s three-pronged approach to the US 89 landslide incident, which included providing immediate emergency access, conducting a geotechnical investigation and restoring essential traffic to the area.
Last summer ADOT paved Navajo Route 20 (Temporary US 89), which was a mostly dirt road stretching from Bodaway-Gap to LeChee.
“Once a long-term solution was identified, ADOT worked diligently to complete all the federally required clearances needed prior to construction,” said Steve Boschen, ADOT deputy state engineer of project delivery. “This process can sometimes take years, but with help from many of our Navajo Nation partners, the Federal Highway Administration and other regulatory stakeholders, we are ready to begin the US 89 landslide repair.”
Prior to breaking ground on the project later this month, ADOT had to clear several hurdles. After an extensive geotechnical investigation identified the necessary repairs last summer, ADOT retained an engineering design firm and developed plans for the eventual repair. Following that, the team finalized all federally required environmental reviews that include cultural, biological and water quality measures, completed the plans for the required right-of-way easements, and finalized negotiations with the contractor.
The final step prior to Friday’s board approval was completing negotiations on a guaranteed maximum price for the project construction with FNF Construction, the same contractor that completed the paving of US 89T.
The US 89 landslide repair project is eligible for reimbursement through the Federal Highway Administration’s emergency relief program, which provides funding to state and local agencies for the repair or reconstruction of highways, roads and bridges that are damaged in natural disasters and catastrophic failures.
For more information, visit azdot.gov/us89.