Crews inspect a portion of U.S. Route 89 that buckled last February after a landslide. | Courtesy of Arizona Department of Transportation
Good news for Page, Lake Powell and the rest of Northern Arizona: Work on rebuilding a collapsed section of U.S. Route 89 will begin later this month.
At its meeting last week, the Arizona Transportation Board approved a $25 million project to repair the highway, which was damaged last February by a “geologic event.” (Our bosses at the Arizona Department of Transportation are now calling the “event” a landslide.)
About 500 feet of roadway in the Echo Cliffs area, 25 miles south of Page, buckled after the landslide. The project will move the roadway 60 feet away from the landslide area, ADOT said in a news release. Crews will also construct a buttress to stabilize the road.
If all goes as planned, U.S. Route 89 will reopen by summer 2015, when travel to Page and other Northern Arizona destinations is heaviest. Until then, travelers can use U.S. Route 89T, a section of Indian Road 20 that ADOT paved last summer, as a temporary detour.
For more information about the project, visit the ADOT project page.
Castle Rock Cut excavation on Lake Powell, 2013 | Courtesy of National Park Service
File this one under “making the best of a bad situation”: Water levels at Lake Powell are at their lowest since 2005 because of a depleted snowpack, but the low water is allowing the National Park Service to improve a popular boat shortcut on the lake.
Castle Rock Cut connects the lake’s Wahweap and Warm Creek bays. The cut has been excavated several times since Lake Powell was created in the 1960s, but it’s been closed since February 2013 due to low lake levels. Without it, boaters have to go through Antelope Point Marina to get between the two bays — adding about 10 miles and an hour of travel time to each trip.
So the Park Service is excavating the cut again, and this time, it plans to remove 70,000 cubic yards of material and lower the cut by another 20 feet — allowing boats to use it when Lake Powell’s water levels go up again.
A Glen Canyon National Recreation Area spokeswoman told the Arizona Daily Sun that the work, which began January 21, will take about four months and cost $1.6 million.
Courtesy of ADOT
Just a friendly reminder that if you’re traveling north to Page and the Lake Powell area, please follow the Arizona Department of Transportation’s approved detour, which will take you from U.S. Route 160 to State Route 98. Yes, you might be tempted to take Navajo Route 20, but don’t do it. The road is unpaved and under construction, and several vehicles have already gotten stuck in the loose sand. There’s also limited cell-phone coverage, which means calling for help may not be an option.
Courtesy of ADOT
We understand you want to minimize your travel time this summer, but please play it safe and smart, especially if you’re traveling with little ones. Loose sand dunes are dangerous and incredibly difficult to navigate through. Construction on Navajo 20 should be completed later this summer. For the latest project updates, videos, photos and news, visit azdot.gov/US89. Motorists with questions can email them to firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll-free 855-712-8530.
Filed under Getaways, News
On February 20, a 150-foot stretch of U.S. Route 89 was significantly damaged by a landslide. As a result, the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) was forced to temporarily close the road. Despite the closure, we want to remind everyone that Page and Lake Powell are open for business. In fact, the local businesses there need your help.
“With the busy tourism season coming up, there are a lot of people concerned in Page and the Lake Powell area with how this closure is going to impact their businesses,” says ADOT spokesman Dustin Krugel.
It’s also important to note that U.S. Route 89A is not affected by the closure. So if you’re heading to the Grand Canyon’s North Rim (when it opens for the season in mid-May), Fredonia, Lees Ferry or Marble Canyon, the detour won’t impact your drive.
So, as you start planning your summer vacations, don’t forget about booking that trip up north. Yes, the route you’re used to taking is closed, but the 45-mile detour is an incredibly spectacular drive.
For the latest on U.S. 89, visit azdot.gov/US89.