Feds release $2M to repair northern AZ highway - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

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Feds release $2M to repair northern AZ highway

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A stretch of U.S. 89 in northern Arizona will remain closed indefinitely because of damage to the roadway about 25 miles south of Page. (Source: Arizona Department of Transportation) A stretch of U.S. 89 in northern Arizona will remain closed indefinitely because of damage to the roadway about 25 miles south of Page. (Source: Arizona Department of Transportation)
Aerial view of the road collapse. (Source: Arizona Department of Transportation) Aerial view of the road collapse. (Source: Arizona Department of Transportation)
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PAGE, AZ (CBS5/AP) -

The U.S. Department of Transportation will release $2 million for initial emergency repairs to a highway in northern Arizona.

The amount was requested by the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Gov. Jan Brewer signed an emergency declaration last Friday so the state could seek federal money to pay for repairing the highway, which remains partially closed.

U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick said Tuesday the Feb. 20 collapse and closure of the stretch of U.S. 89 on a hillside south of Page has had a direct impact on local businesses, schools and families.

She says it has created major delays for school bus routes, emergency-responder routes, employers and employees of Page-based businesses and the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. It also increased the cost of deliveries and gasoline in the region.

Options are available for motorists traveling between Flagstaff and Lake Powell to avoid the closure.

The 23-mile-long stretch of US 89 will remain closed indefinitely.

ADOT said engineers are trying to determine what caused a 150-foot section of pavement to buckle.

US 89 is closed between the US 89A junction near Bitter Springs to the State Route 98 junction near Page.  

Alternate routes include traveling east for 50 miles on US 160 to State Route 98 and northwest on SR 98 for 65 miles to Page. The detour adds an additional 45 miles over the direct route, ADOT said.  

Motorists also have the option to take northbound US 89A through Marble Canyon toward Fredonia to reconnect to US 89 in southern Utah. Drivers may take a pit stop at the Marble Canyon-Navajo Bridge Rest Area. Motorists can reach Page using this route by traveling north to US 89 in Kanab, UT and southbound on US 89. It's an additional 80 miles longer than the direct route, according to ADOT. 

Drivers traveling from Utah to Phoenix can also consider taking Interstate 15 toward Las Vegas before connecting to southbound US 93 in Arizona to US 60 into the Phoenix area. 

ADOT is also urging all commercial truck traffic to use one of the proposed alternate routes on state highways and avoid traveling on any local roads.

ADOT says the cause of the roadway damage might be what it calls a "geologic event." Geotechnical engineers are currently evaluating the stability of the mountain slope.

"This area encompasses close to 500 feet of damaged pavement, but we had the opportunity in the plane to circle the area twice and it looks like the settlement could be a lot larger," according to Robert Samour, ADOT senior deputy state engineer of operations.

"The area over the guardrail drops off a couple hundred feet. We saw some cracking in the soil down the slope, so I would say that this is probably a 500- to 700-foot section that we're going to have to take a good look at for settlement," Samour added.

ADOT said major repairs will be required.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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