Canyon highway closed, damaged from flooding
SEDONA - The forces of Mother Nature made themselves known along a number of Arizona highways after last week's powerful winter storms. A section of one highway, State Route 89A in Oak Creek Canyon connecting Sedona and Flagstaff, remains closed until emergency repairs can be made.
The Arizona Department of Transportation is working to speed repairs along the highway where storm runoff caused damage. Rod Wigman, ADOT spokesman, says the highway is unsafe for travel until the repairs can be made. He says it may be closed for up to two weeks.
Engineers have determined that rushing water flowed down the mountain and across the roadway, washing away the round foundation beneath a portion of the roadway. The erosion has created a gap under the pavement. The water also eroded a portion of the slope adjacent to the highway. Road crews are working to repair the pavement and fill in the retaining wall, a project that is expected to take several days.
SR 89A is closed in both directions along a 10-mile stretch. Drivers who normally use the highway to commute between Sedona and Flagstaff must use SR 179 and Interstate 17.
"We want to reopen the highway as soon as possible," said John Harper, Flagstaff District engineer. "Our primary responsibility is to keep people as safe as possible when damage like this occurs. We want to emphasize that no one should drive around the barricades and try to travel on the damaged roadway. This is a major safety risk."
The status of the SR 89A closure is listed along with other information about highway conditions around Arizona on ADOT's Travel Information site at www.az511.gov.
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