The Temporary US Highway: US Route 89T and Navajo Nation Route 20
US Route 89T was the 46 mile long designation for Navajo Nation Route 20 after a 25 mile stretch of US-89 buckled due to a landslide in early 2013. From Indian Country Today, "The road collapse occurred in the early-morning hours of February 20, about 25 miles south of Page, Arizona, the state Department of Transportation said. The landslide “ripped through a section of US 89 along a mountain slope about 25 miles south of Page, buckling more than 150 feet of the roadway and tearing the pavement up in six-foot-high sections,” the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) said in a statement on its website."
|The junction for US-89A, Navajo Route 20 and US-89T. (Image: US Route 89)|
As the Navajo had wanted to pave N20 for decades, and some design and environmental clearances had already been obtained, it took just 79 days to pave N20 in a project that might have otherwise taken more than a year.
"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." (ADOT)
|Map of US-89 between Flagstaff and Utah, and US-89T in dotted black.|
The designation was in effect from 2013-2015, after which it reverted to Navajo control once again, this time as a paved road. US-89 returned to its normal alignment upon reconstruction.