The following information is from Bill Williams, ADOT public information officer.
"When and if we open state route 87 it will be two lanes, one north and one southbound, traveling side by side in the current northbound lane at slow speeds while we finish addressing the buckled pavement in the southbound lane," said williams
"Motorist safety is our priority. That's why we are excavating hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of earth off that slope which caused Friday's landslide."
State Route 87 remains closed between the Bush Highway and State Route 188 due to a landslide that occurred March 21 in the Slate Creek area, at Milepost 224.
At this time, there is no projected date or time for reopening State Route 87 to traffic. The recommended alternate routes between Phoenix and Payson are still in place. Drivers can use US 60 and SR 188 through Globe or I-17 and SR 260 through Camp Verde as alternates.
Our first priority is to stabilize the slope where the landslide occurred as this poses the greatest public safety risk and motorists will not be able to use the highway until we are assured that the public can safely travel through the area.
ADOT has issued an emergency project and has construction contractor on site to stabilize the slope and repair the highway pavement. The slopes above State Route 87 are owned by the U.S. Forest Service and their representatives have been on site to help ADOT develop the plans for the slope excavation and stabilization.
ADOT is working with the construction contractor and a team of engineering experts and geotechnical specialists to assess the actions being taken to stabilize the slope and safely allow motorists to use the highway. Crews have worked during daylight hours through the weekend and this week to excavate and stabilize the slope where the landslide occurred. The slope is still too unstable and unsafe to allow crews to work at night.
As you can see in the attached aerial photos, significant earthwork has taken place to stablilize the slope where the landslide occurred. This is a fluid situation because as the earthwork has progressed underground voids not previously visible have been discovered. ADOT is assessing the situation daily and has not yet determined when the highway will be safe to open.
ADOT has installed devices on SR 87 to visually monitor pavement movement laterally and vertically. ADOT is creating a digital terrain model to establish the quantity of material that has moved on the slope where the landslide occurred. ADOT will be installing devices underground, called slope monitoring tubes, to calculate earth movement laterally and vertically after more progress is made with the heavy construction equipment to remove the unstable soil.
ADOT is updating the media and local officials as new information is available. We have provided media outlets with video and photos of the site to illustrate the landslide and the work taking place. Our 511 travel information system also is being updated as new information is available.
ADOT appreciates the patience of the public and the assistance law enforcement and cooperating agencies as we work to safely reopen the highway.
Below are some photos from March 21 that show the landslide before construction crews began work this past weekend and on March 24 after crews worked through the weekend to excavate soil from the unstable slope.