89T--New road to Page is OPEN!

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89T--New road to Page is OPEN!

Post by azbackpackr » Sep 02 2013 6:46 am

The new road to Page is open. I drove it twice on Saturday, the day after it opened. It is open right now ONLY IN THE DAYTIME, and there are still many signs, such as on I-40 and at Tuba turnoff, which are very confusing. On my way up, nearly everyone turned off at Tuba, not knowing the road was open I suppose. But I continued on to Gap, where the new road starts. There is no very good signage at Gap yet, either, to indicate you can go that way. However, I asked at the gas station there and they assured me it was okay to drive it. You turn to the right at Gap, next to the gas station. The road goes directly to Page, becoming Coppermine Road in Page.

It's a very nice roadway, although at this time, since they don't have all the fencing up to keep the livestock off, the speed limit varies between 25 and 35 mph. But that will change once they can keep the animals fenced off. I think it will be problematic, though, in winter, since the roadway is built up on a berm, and slipping off the side of the road would be a real possibility at any given point. I would want to be super careful because one small slip and you're in the ditch. I think they had to build it up that way because of the geology of the area--it is super muddy around there.

On the way back I came to an area where they were having to use heavy equipment to remove a mudslide which had happened due to a huge thunderstorm, and the unstable ground by the road just collapsed and ran over it in two places. When I was driving back all traffic followed a pilot car which went 50-60 mph, so that was nice.
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Re: 89T--New road to Page is OPEN!

Post by Jim_H » Sep 02 2013 8:13 am

Mudslides up on the Rez are nothing new. In mid-August of 2008, after my 14er trip and while returning to Flagstaff, I drove US 160 from 4 Corners to Kayenta, and on to Tuba. While passing by Black Mesa as you are closest to it, a large flow had gone across the road as some point and debris was stopping traffic as each lane took turns going. Also, Sheep were grazing the road with dogs herding them, so the fences don't totally work. Last summer, there were probably daily mud flows until the state dug a canal along the road to move the mud to a better crossing point, where there was a large culvert. As long as the road is usable 95% of the time and can carry heavy trucks, its fine.
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