US 89 bypass in northern Arizona opens - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

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US 89 bypass in northern Arizona opens

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A portion of U.S. 89 was badly damaged in February, forcing motorists to take a 50-mile detour. (Source: ADOT) A portion of U.S. 89 was badly damaged in February, forcing motorists to take a 50-mile detour. (Source: ADOT)
(Source: ADOT) (Source: ADOT)
(Source: ADOT) (Source: ADOT)
(Source: ADOT) (Source: ADOT)
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FLAGSTAFF, AZ (CBS5/AP) -

A shorter U.S. 89 detour in northern Arizona has opened after the Arizona Department of Transportation finished fencing to prevent livestock from crossing the roadway.

ADOT said the 44-mile-long temporary U.S. 89 route runs parallel to U.S. 89 from The Gap to LeChee. The road was called Navajo Route 20, a tribal route, which was mostly dirt before ADOT paved it.

On Feb. 20, a landslide buckled pavement along the mountain slope in the Echo Cliffs area and closed U.S. 89 between Bitter Springs and Page.

ADOT said it could be more than two years before motorists can again travel a now-closed section of U.S. 89 between Flagstaff and Page.

The department said it plans to rebuild the highway atop a huge new rock retaining wall at the base of a Feb. 20 landslide where the ground slipped out from under U.S. Highway 89. The project is expected to cost $40 million.

The active landslide is about 135 feet below the roadway and measures approximately 1,200 long at the base of the slope.

ADOT has worked with the Navajo Nation, Navajo Division of Transportation, Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Federal Highway Administration to pave Navajo Route 20 that runs parallel to U.S. 89, approximately 17 miles north of the U.S. 160 junction.

Construction started in late May on N20. U.S. 89 has been closed north of Bitter Springs and south of Page since Feb. 20.

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

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