Thursday, February 21, 2013

U.S. 89 Arizona Highway buckles due to "Slope Failure"

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The collapsed of a portion of U.S. 89 south of Page on Wednesday has forced the indefinite closure of the highway going both directions, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

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U.S. 89 is the main road connecting Page to Flagstaff and the Valley. More than 120 feet of the highway has sunk nearly 4 feet just south of Page in the Navajo Nation, according to Dustin Krugel of ADOT.

The collapse is possibly from a geological condition, however, it is too early to determine the exact cause, Krugel said.

At least two collisions were reported as a result of the sink hole, according to the state Department of Public Safety. While U.S. 89 is open to Arizona 89A, officials recommend drivers heading to Page take U.S. 160 east 15 miles, then take Arizona 98.

This takes drivers 50 miles off course, according to Krugel.

The roads will be repaired as soon as officials determine the extent of the damage, according to Timothy Tait of the Arizona Department of Transportation.

This detour can take up to two hours, according to Leland Yellowhorse, who works at a business located along U.S. 89.

Yellowhorse has traveled Arizona 89 to and from the Valley several times and said it seemed fine before the collapse.

“I didn’t think it wasn’t safe,” Yellowhorse said. “I know it isn’t now.”

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