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Landslide-damaged US 89 finally reopens in Arizona

PHOENIX — A highway in northern Arizona reopened Friday more than two years after a landslide split the road in two.

In the early morning hours of Feb. 20, 2013, a landslide ripped through a section of U.S. 89 along a mountain slope about 25 miles south of Page, buckling more than 150 feet of roadway and tearing pavement up in six-foot-high sections.

The landslide forced a 23-mile closure of the highway and a large detour that caused difficulties for tourists.

“GPS was a bit difficult to handle,” Judy Franz with the Page Chamber of Commerce said. “A majority of the phone calls were about how to get here. There was a lot of ‘I don’t know how to get there,’ ‘The road is closed’, ‘What do I do?'”

Page wasn’t the only Arizona landmark that suffered after the landslide. U.S. 89 is an important artery for Lake Powell traffic. The repairs were completed ahead of the lake’s busy season.

“We’re already seeing people coming in; a lot of tours happening,” Franz said. “Fishing on Lake Powell is picking up with the warmer temperatures coming in.”

The highway is expected to reopen about 4:30 p.m.