US 89T will provide shorter detour to Page, Lake Powell
Drivers headed to Page and the Lake Powell area this Labor Day weekend will have another option when the Arizona Department of Transportation opens the newly paved Temporary US 89 route (US 89T) on Thursday, Aug. 29, albeit with some restrictions.
The former Navajo Route 20 (known locally as Coppermine Road) runs parallel to US 89 from The Gap to LeChee and is accessible on US 89, approximately 17 miles north of the US 160 junction (Tuba City exit).
While the 27-mile paving operations have been completed, US 89T remains an active construction zone as crews continue to install right-of-way fencing along the corridor, which has a large amount of livestock.
Until fencing is complete, US 89T will be open during daylight hours only (except for local residents) and there will be a 25 mph speed limit in place. When construction is complete, the speed limit will be raised and nighttime restrictions will be lifted.
When traveling on US 89T, ADOT urges motorists to slow down, pay attention to their surroundings and be aware that this roadway is prone to animal crossings.
Immediately after the US 89 landslide, ADOT set an alternate route along US 160 and State Route 98, but the 115-mile-long route created a heavy burden for drivers because it was 45 miles longer than the direct route. With the restricted opening of US 89T, however, the US 160-to-SR 98 detour route may still be a faster option for drivers.
US 89T is not part of the ultimate solution to repair US 89, which has been closed north of Bitter Springs and south of Page since Feb. 20 due to a landslide that buckled pavement along the mountain slope in the Echo Cliffs area.
After an extensive geotechnical investigation of the US 89 landslide, ADOT’s proposed solution is to move the travel lanes away from the active landslide and construct a gravity buttress to stabilize the area. The projected $40 million repair is expected to take more than two years to complete, and will include significant environmental and right-of-way clearances prior to construction.