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ADOT's geotechnical investigation on US 89 landslide enters final stages

Heavy construction to begin to build access to bottom of mountain slope
April 09, 2013

PHOENIX — The final step to complete ADOT’s geotechnical investigation that will ultimately uncover the best long-term solution to restore the landslide damaged US 89 highway has started.

After receiving environmental clearance, heavy construction began today as crews will cut a pathway down the slope to the base of the mountain slope. The work is expected to take at least two weeks.

The access path will allow the geotechnical engineers to dig pits, approximately 20-40 feet long and 10-15 feet deep, which will provide critical information regarding any movement that may be present at the base of the slide.

The excavation work is necessary because it will lead to recommendations by the geotechnical team on what options are available within the site to realign the roadway or rebuild the existing roadway.

“This is the final piece of the puzzle we’ll need to wrap up this geotechnical investigation,” said Steve Boschen, ADOT deputy state engineer of design. “Prior to this, our drilling crews were only able to access this area via helicopters.

“ADOT’s goal is to repair this critical section of highway and restore connectivity throughout the region as soon as possible. But before we can start the repairs, we need to determine the cause of the landslide and assess the safety of the slope.”

ADOT’s geotechnical investigation at the US 89 landslide site is the first phase of the solution. Crews are monitoring the stability of the slope and the ultimate repair of the highway will be based on the results of the geotechnical investigation. Efforts also continue on exploring the use of Navajo Route 20 as a temporary detour route while US 89 repairs are addressed.

ADOT launched a Web page (www.azdot.gov/us89) dedicated to keeping the public informed with the latest news, alternate routes, and up-to-date videos and photos of the roadway damage on US 89.

Users of the Web page can also sign up for updates on the US 89 closure. The public can also contact the Project Hotline toll-free at 1.855.712.8530 or via email at projects@azdot.gov.