Coordinating efforts with tribal governments and federal partners, the Arizona Department of Transportation is working to reopen a section of US 89 severed by flooding about 60 miles north of Flagstaff between State Route 64 at Cameron and US 160.
With US 89 expected to remain closed for multiple days due to the washout between mileposts 467 and 481 on the Navajo Nation, motorists heading to Page, Tuba City and other destinations north of Cameron can take Interstate 40 east from Flagstaff to State Route 87 at Winslow, then head north to State Route 264, northwest to US 160 in Tuba City and west to US 89.
For those traveling from points south on US 89, the closure doesn’t affect access to Grand Canyon National Park’s east entrance via SR 64.
“For residents, tourists and trade, US 89 is an essential route through northern Arizona,” ADOT Director John Halikowski said. “We are bringing all available resources to minimize the time needed to reopen the highway, and we are grateful for the assistance offered by Navajo and Hopi leaders and by the Federal Highway Administration.”
In addition to sending personnel and equipment to the remote site, ADOT has requested special funding through the Federal Highway Administration’s Emergency Relief Program.
The flooding, caused late Wednesday by the remnants of Hurricane Rosa, cut through a 30-foot section of US 89 and through the earth beneath it, necessitating extensive repairs. ADOT will make short-term repairs to reopen the highway and return later with a project to make permanent repairs.
ADOT is coordinating with the Arizona Department of Public Safety on the detour route, which adds about 125 miles to a trip between Flagstaff and Page. Even if a GPS recommends another route, ADOT and AZDPS urge drivers to avoid using tribal roads through the area, most of which are dirt and may have been damaged by the storm that severed US 89.
The Navajo Nation and Hopi Tribe are assisting on the detour route to discourage detours on tribal roads that may not be passable at present. Meanwhile, ADOT is working closely with the tribes as well as Coconino County on the timetable for reopening the highway, communicating essential information with motorists and other critical issues.
“The Navajo Division of Transportation appreciates the quick response by the Arizona Department of Transportation regarding the road damage on Highway 89,” said Garret Silversmith, division director for the Navajo Division of Transportation. “Historically, NDOT and ADOT have always had a strong and collaborative relationship on transportation concerns and issues throughout the Navajo Nation and the great state of Arizona. Thus NDOT has offered and is providing assistance to ADOT with the corrective repair efforts on the Hwy 89 road damage.”