U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced he is making $2 million in quick release emergency relief funds immediately available to Arizona to help repair a stretch of U.S. Highway 89 which collapsed following a landslide.
"President Obama has said we need to "Fix it First' and make sure our nation's transportation system is up to the task of supporting communities and businesses," said Secretary LaHood. "When disaster strikes, the President's call to repair infrastructure becomes even more urgent."
On February 20, an apparent 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 up the pavement. The Arizona Department of Transportation immediately closed a 23-mile-long stretch of the highway because of the damage.
"Restoring transportation links after a natural disaster is critical to area residents as well as the economy," Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez said. "This funding represents a down payment on our commitment to repairing this important highway."
Quick release emergency funds provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) are used for repairs to roads, bridges and tunnels that are immediately necessary. Arizona will use the funds to assess the damage and the stability of the mountain slope and establish detours for travelers while the highway is closed.
US 89 will remain closed as geotechnical experts and engineers examine the mountain slope and roadbed to determine the exact cause of the damage.
FHWA's emergency relief program provides funds for the repair or reconstruction of federal-aid roads and bridges damaged by natural disasters or catastrophic events.