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Storm-damaged Arizona highway requires extended closure

Storm-damaged Arizona highway requires extended closure
This photo. provided by the Arizona Department of Transportation. shows flood damage along U.S. 60 west of Miami, Ariz. on Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021. Forecasters warned that runoff from wildfire burn scars could trigger mudslides and produce flows, carrying debris through normally dry washes. (Arizona Department of Transportation via AP)

PHOENIX — Repairing storm damage to U.S. 60 in east-central Arizona will require the extended closure of a 17.5-mile stretch of the highway between the Arizona towns of Superior and Miami, authorities said Wednesday, Aug. 11.

The Arizona Department of Transportation didn’t provide an estimate on when it will be able to reopen the highway, a major route between metro Phoenix and eastern Arizona’s high country.

However, the department said the needed work will be done around the clock and will require an estimated 300 truckloads of boulders to shore up the highway so it can safely reopen to traffic.

The 70-mile detour around the closure, which occurred early Wednesday morning, takes traffic on State Routes 77 and 177 through Winkelman, involves a 10% grade “and will significantly increase travel time,” the department said.

Numerous storm cells paraded across the region early Wednesday, prompting the National Weather Service to issue flood advisories in areas near Casa Grande, Fountain Hills, Maricopa, Apache Junction and Coolidge.

“Be aware that areas of flooding may cause significant inconvenience. Use extreme caution on roads. Do not walk or drive through flooded streets or around barricades,” one advisory stated.

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