New video of damaged northern Arizona highway - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

New video of damaged northern Arizona highway

Posted: Updated:
PAGE, Ariz. -

We have new pictures and video of a landslide that took out a section of Highway 89, south of Page. The damage to the road measures half the length of a football field.

The Arizona Department of Transportation officials say engineers are trying to determine what caused a 150-foot section of pavement on U.S. 89 in northern Arizona to buckle early Wednesday.

At first, there was talk that this may have been an earthquake -- however, ADOT says the cause might be what it calls a "geologic event" and major repairs will be required.

A geologist at Northern Arizona University explained it like this -- the dirt under the road is like a sponge, which expands when wet, and contracts when it dries. That expanding and contracting eventually caused a chunk of land to break loose and slide down.

State officials and the Navajo Nation are seeking an emergency declaration to get funds to quickly repair the stretch. The Navajo Nation met Thursday with the Coconino County Office of Emergency Management about declaring the roadway collapse an emergency.

ADOT says damage to the roadway about 25 miles south of Page will keep that stretch closed indefinitely.

In the meantime, traffic is detouring around the closure by using U.S. 160 and State Route 98. That adds 45 miles of driving.

There's no timetable on when repairs will be done.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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