Friday, May 3, 2013

US 89: Restoring Mobility

Things have come a long way in the two months since a landslide buckled part of US 89 south of Page…

No, the route hasn’t been restored yet. But, as you can see in the video above, several steps already have been taken to return mobility to the area.

ADOT’s Senior Deputy State Engineer Rob Samour details a three-pronged approach that has been established as crews work toward an ultimate fix.

“We looked at the immediate, intermediate and ultimate solutions,” Samour says in the video. “The immediate solution actually took place within the first three weeks. We did start the geotechnical investigation and we were able to establish immediate access for emergency responders. The interim repair – the paving of N20 – is under the design phase right now. Hopefully we’ll be paving shortly. The ultimate repair of US 89 will eventually get a recommendation from our geotechnical engineers on a solution.”

So, while it’s still premature to lay out any sort of a timeline, drivers can know that ADOT is working toward identifying the long-term options and that we certainly recognize how important US 89 is to the community of Page and the region.

ADOT Director John Halikowski asks for patience and explains the process.

“The mountain has moved and literally to fix that roadway we are going to have to move that mountain in some way or we’re going to have to figure out a way to go around it,” Halikowski says in the video. “These are not quick and easy decisions to make because they do involve a great deal of technical issues in the engineering and geology areas but we are working on this as diligently as we can.”

For the latest on the US 89 closure, visit While you’re there, you can see photos and videos from the site and view a detour map.


  1. You people are just annoying. Words can't describe how frustrating you guys have made this. Something that could be fixed immediately instead of delaying and delaying the project. You obviously have no idea what we the people living in Bitter Springs are going through.

    PS: Why opened the road for a criminal on the run who wrecked his car when you guys won't open the road to local people for work and for the buses? Great work guys, a preschool bus got stuck in the sand today while you guys were sitting in your offices with AC running, a group of small preschool children were sitting in the sun because you people have failed at your jobs. 2 weeks left of least open the "emergency" route for the school children. AT LEAST!!

    1. We are sorry to hear that the school bus had trouble. ADOT, in collaboration with NDOT and BIA, is working as quickly as possible to pave Navajo Route 20. In fact, we expect to begin construction by early June and be complete this summer on the project to convert N20 into a temporary detour route for US 89.

      As for use of the emergency access road through the closure site, we had detailed discussions with school district leadership about the use of this path for buses and ADOT stressed that it is simply not a safe alternative. That’s why the access path is restricted to construction and emergency response vehicles.

      This is not something that could have been fixed immediately. The mountain moved, and took half of the roadway with it. We have to find a way to stabilize that slope and secure the road for the future. By the end of May, we expect to have the final report on the landslide and the recommended solutions that will allow us to move forward with repairs. The fact that the federal government recently awarded ADOT a $35 million grant for partial repairs demonstrates the scope of damage.

      We are sensitive to the needs of everyone in the community and we have staff assigned in the area to work with local residents. Many people are being impacted by this closure, but the paving of N20 this summer will be a big step forward for all of us.

  2. Is the whole 89 route from Bitter Springs to Page closed? Or just exactly the damaged segment?
    Am I able to get Horseshoe Bend by 89 from Page? This place is about 5 miles South from Page.

    1. you can still get to Horseshoe Bend by 89 from Page, we were they 1 month ago and there barely any traffic. but they did closed the section from intersection us160 and us89 to the entrance right before Horseshoe Bend.

    2. You are correct ... there is local access to Horseshoe Bend and it remains open to visitors.

      Enjoy your visit and thanks for reading!


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