FARMINGTON — A stretch of highway that is in pieces after a chunk of mountain shifted downhill will not be repaired anytime soon.

A 150-foot section of U.S. Highway 89 slid away from a mountain near Page, Ariz. early Wednesday morning. Several cars had minor accidents because the road gave way, though only one woman suffered minor injuries.

"There will be more sliding taking place. There's still movement," said Rick Abasta, spokesman for the Navajo Nation Division of Transportation.

The highway is impassable south of Page, lengthening the trip for motorists traveling north and south from Page.

Motorists are advised to take an alternate route via U.S. Highway 160 and Arizona State Route 98. The detour is about 45 miles longer than the direct route.

Some motorists have tried other dirt roads, but several have had trouble on them because of inclement weather, Abasta said. One got stuck Thursday.

The division is working with the Arizona Department of Transportation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs to assess the damage to the highway, which appeared irreparable in photos from the Arizona department.

The road appears as though it completely gave way, detached from the slope, and slid downhill.

"Apparently, this road has a history of issues," Abasta said.

The road has been known to "dip," or give way slightly, Abasta said. Crews have repaired it several times with temporary "Band-Aid" fixes, Abasta said.

He did not know how long the repairs will take.


Advertisement

There is no time frame for when the road will open to travelers.

State and tribal officials are currently analyzing the road and are trying to figure out what kind of geological event caused the damage.