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.


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