In the early morning hours of Feb. 20, 2013, a landslide ripped through a section of US 89 along a mountain slope about 25 miles south of Page, buckling more than 150 feet of the roadway and tearing the pavement up in six-foot-high sections.
The significant roadway damage forced the Arizona Department of Transportation to immediately close a 23-mile-long stretch of the highway (at mileposts 523-546) between the US 89A junction near Bitter Springs to the State Route 98 junction near Page.
US 89 will be closed for the immediate future as geotechnical experts and ADOT's engineers examine the mountain slope and roadbed to determine the exact cause of the damage and what steps are required to reconstruct the roadway and get it back into shape for travelers. There is no timetable for reopening the highway; however, ADOT is working to rebuild the highway as soon as safely possible.
A temporary detour (US 89T) route opened with limited access on Aug. 29, only three months after construction began the $35 million project to pave Navajo Route 20, which was mostly a dirt and sandy road before work began in late May.
The 44-mile-long US 89T route runs parallel to US 89 from The Gap to LeChee and is accessible from US 89, approximately 17 miles north of the US 160 junction (Tuba City exit). Previously a Navajo Nation roadway, US 89T will be maintained by ADOT while it is in use as a detour.