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Rebuild of Collapsed Section of 89A to Wrap Up Before Summer 2015

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ADOT
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Construction is set to begin on a section of U.S. 89A south of Page that collapsed last year during a landslide. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, officials say the roadway will reopen by next year’s summer travel season.

Last week, the State Transportation Board approved $25 million for the repairs. According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, though the work will begin this month, drilling and blasting will start in late August.

Since the 2013 landslide, crews have worked to determine the best way to rebuild the road. The new section of 89A will be about 60 feet closer to the Echo Cliffs to avoid the collapsed area. Rock removed from the cliffs during construction will be used as a buttress to shore up the new 1,500-foot section. As part of the project, the state is offering a monetary incentive to the contractor for finishing the project early.

After ADOT closed 20 miles of 89A following the landslide, the agency established a detour on a formerly unpaved Navajo Nation roadway. But, U.S. 89T adds significant driving time to Page from Bitter Springs and the Lees Ferry area.

ADOT says the state could be reimbursed for the entire project through the Federal Highway Administration’s emergency relief program.  

Ryan joined KNAU's newsroom in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a frequent contributor to NPR.
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