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(Arizona Department of Transportation Photo)
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New bridge open to traffic in northern Arizona

(Arizona Department of Transportation Photo)

PHOENIX — A year after construction began, Arizona highway officials opened a new bridge in the northern part of the state.

The Arizona Department of Transportation allowed traffic to cross the State Route 89 bridge at Hell Canyon near Chino Valley late last week.

Officials said the connection, about 15 miles north of Chino Valley, was longer and wider than the previous bridge, which was constructed in 1954.

“The new bridge will help ensure that SR 89 can continue to provide these critical transportation needs, including oversized commercial loads,” northwest district design engineer Alvin Stump said in a press release.

ADOT said the bridge cost $14.4 million. Concrete for the 665-footlong, two-lane project’s deck was first poured in May.

The new overpass at milepost 346 will be able to accommodate more commercial traffic between Prescott and Interstate 40. It’s estimated that about 3,400 vehicles will use the bridge every day.

Workers will start taking down the old bridge soon and should be finished in three months. That bridge went up in 1954 when State Route 89’s alignment shifted west.

The first span over the canyon was built in 1923 and took drivers from Prescott to the Ash Fork Highway. The abandoned original has a spot on the National Register of Historic Places in Arizona.

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