Northbound State Route 87 is ready for weekend travel after Tanker Fire scorching

Jul 14, 2023, 7:33 PM

Northbound State Route 87 lanes reopen this weekend...

(Payson Fire Department photo)

(Payson Fire Department photo)

PHOENIX — Drivers who want to flee the heat and escape to the White Mountains and Mogollon Rim won’t have to worry about northbound State Route 87 shutdowns this weekend.

Transportation officials have finally restored the fire-damaged pavement in two lanes near milepost 243, according to a Friday news release from the Arizona Department of Transportation.

“The right lane had been closed near milepost 243 since a Tanker Fire severely damaged the pavement a week ago,” ADOT said in an announcement.

That eight-acre Tanker Fire started with a crash between a vehicle and a gasoline tanker on the highway around 10 miles south of Payson on July 7.

“When the first engine arrived, we found a tanker with 8,600 gallons of unleaded gasoline on fire,” according to the Payson Fire Department. “There was never an immediate concern for the town of Payson.”

However, to be safe, officials shut down traffic o the right lane to restore the asphalt.

Northbound state route 87 are open for weekend travel

The traffic shutdown threw a wrench in drivers’ plans to head north to the cool mountains.

Although transportation officials repaved both northbound lanes, they say there’s still work to do.

“After the weekend, a daytime right lane closure will be needed from Monday through Thursday in the coming weeks so crews can complete environmental cleanup,” ADOT said.

Some drivers might think of avoiding State Route 87 altogether and using the US 60 instead. However, ADOT has a warning for people who take that route.

“Plan for delays just south of Salt River Canyon, where a paving project requires a pilot car to guide traffic in each direction on one alternating lane between mileposts 288 and 293,” ADOT said.

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Northbound State Route 87 is ready for weekend travel after Tanker Fire scorching