Yesterday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced he is releasing $2 million in quick release emergency relief funds to help repair a buckled stretch of U.S. Highway 89.
On February 20, an apparent landslide caused the a section of US 89 to buckle, tearing up 150 feet of highway. The Arizona Department of Transportation immediately closed a 23-mile-long stretch of the highway because of the damage.
According to an Arizona Department of Transportation press release, the total cost for repairs are estimated at $35 million. The $2 million emergency funds will be used will to “assess the damage and the stability of the mountain slope, and conduct emergency operations.”
“Our budget for emergencies is very limited, and local governments have even greater financial constraints with limited cash available to fund emergencies,” said Jennifer Toth, ADOT deputy director for transportation. “This initial allocation serves as a down payment on the overall emergency relief needs for US 89. It will offset the cost for the geotechnical investigation of the landslide area to determine short- and long-term options.”
“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.”
US 89 remains closed indefinitely.