Tag Archives: construction

Navajo Route 20 to Open in September as Detour for U.S. 89


A 150-foot section of U.S. Route 89 buckled in February. Photo courtesy of ADOT.


When a 150-foot portion of U.S. Route 89 buckled in February, travelers in Northeastern Arizona faced bumpy roads and long delays. Now, the newly paved Navajo Route 20 will be rededicated as U.S. 89T and will eventually serve as a detour route. Below, you’ll find the official press release from the Navajo Division of Transportation.


     BODAWAY GAP-It only took 79 days to pave Navajo Route 20. Finishing 11 days ahead of schedule, the crew from FNF Con­struction, Inc. paved the final mile of Navajo Route 20 on August 8, 2013. Construction officially began on May 21. FNF was contracted by the Arizona Department of Transporta­tion to pave 28 miles of N20. Assisting them was AZTEC Engineer­ing and RUMCO. The new road was completed just in time, as the Page Unified School District started the new school year. Hundreds of Navajo students attend school in Page and previously faced bumpy roads  and lengthy drive times to get to school. N20 is now designated as U.S. 89T and will be utilized to restore essential traffic from U.S. 89 for a period of three years, after which the road will revert back to the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. U.S. 89 was closed on Feb. 22, after a dry landslide damaged a portion of roadway near the Bitter Springs and Echo Cliffs area, south of the Big Cut. The Navajo Division of Transportation, ADOT, BIA and Federal Highway Administration joined forces to pave N20 as a detour route.

“This was a game-changing collaboration,” said Paulson Chaco, director of NDOT. “Not only did ADOT get this paving done in such a short timeframe, but we all came together to expedite the project.” … The official soft dedication celebration for the road will take place on August 29, at the junction of the Coppermine Chapter road and N20. Festivities will begin at 10 a.m. (DST).  Floyd Stevens, president of Coppermine Chapter, said ADOT’s road crew will continue working on finishing touches for the road­way through Sept. “We’re very excited about the opening. The word is already out,” Stevens said.  Until the road is officially opened to the traveling public, motor­ists are encouraged to continue utilizing the detour route on U.S. 160 and State Route 98 for travel into Page. Information: http://www.navajodot.org or http://www.azdot.gov/us89

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Filed under Drives, Et Cetera

Q&A With PHX Parks & Rec Lead Staff Member Chris Ewell on Camelback Mountain Improvements


City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department

City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department

As you may have heard, the Echo Canyon Trailhead on Camelback Mountain, and the Summit Trail that leads from there to the top of Camelback, are closed this summer for trailhead improvements. We spoke with Chris Ewell, the Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department’s lead staff member on the construction project, to get some details about the improvements.

What’s being done to the Echo Canyon Trailhead area?

We’ve completely demolished the old trailhead. We’ve done some rerouting on the first half-mile of the trail. We are expanding the parking lot to 132 spaces; it was 68 before. We’re adding a shaded area, interpretive exhibits and a chilled drinking fountain. And we’re finally going to have permanent restrooms; we used to have portable toilets, which weren’t very pleasant. Up the road, we’re putting in a roundabout on McDonald Drive to control traffic a little better, so we’re coordinating with Paradise Valley on that.

We’re also adding new landscaping; the plants that were near the trailhead are being kept alive at Papago Park for now, until we can add them back in. And we’re building a gatehouse, in case we need staff members to control the parking lot more closely during busy seasons.

City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department

City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department

Why was this necessary?

Because of the increasing popularity of hiking in the Phoenix metro area in general, and Camelback in particular. That little, tiny trailhead was developed years ago and became overcrowded. There were times when nobody could get in or out because the traffic was so bad. There are 83 homes that share the same driveway as the trailhead, so people sometimes couldn’t get into or out of their homes. We had to have two staff members at the site all day during the cooler months to regulate traffic.

How long will the construction be going on? Will the Summit Trail be closed until construction is completed?

We spent almost two years working with hikers, neighbors, our internal staff and Paradise Valley to figure out what was the best solution. It will remain closed until fall, and probably late fall; we don’t have the exact date yet. The Summit Trail will remain closed until then, as well. With the new landscaping at the beginning of the trail, it’ll be a good chance for the summer rains to come and help things take root again.

What can hikers expect once the work is completed?

We think traffic circulation is going to improve, as will access for emergency vehicles and people who live near the trail. We even provided a drop-off area for people who just want to be dropped off at the trailhead. We wish we could have done it sooner, but we’re under way now.

What alternate Phoenix-area hiking trails would you recommend in the meantime?

Cholla Trail, on Camelback, is still open, and it’s been extremely popular since the closure. The Phoenix Mountain Preserve and Piestewa Peak are great options, too, as is South Mountain Park. We also have 25 miles of new trails in the Sonoran Preserve, up north.

—Noah Austin, Associate Editor


Filed under Eco Issues, Hiking, Q&A