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(Arizona Department of Transportation Photo)

PHOENIX -- The Arizona Department of Transportation said repairs to a section of U.S. 89 south of Page could be finished by the end of the year.

It has been one year since 500 feet of pavement buckled last February, which caused the department to retool Navajo Route 20 as a way around the damage.

But the detour made for slow going for drivers and many people skipped the trip to Page, which hit its economy hard.

Dustin Krugel with ADOT said if there are no environmental, utility or right-of-way hurdles, construction crews will get to work on the road in the summer.

"That construction will include shifting the roadway 60 feet away from the landslide area. We're also going to build a rock buttress to stabilize the area," Krugel said.

The repair is estimated to cost $25 million. ADOT passed a major milestone this week toward beginning construction on the highway's ultimate repair. The final environmental documentation was submitted to the Federal Highway Administration on Thursday for review.

Without this clearance, ADOT cannot use federal funds for the project.

ADOT also continued to work with the Navajo Nation on obtaining right-of-way easements. An agreement among the Federal Highway Administration, Navajo Nation and Bureau of Indian Affairs must be reached to establish an expanded easement.

Jim Cross, Reporter

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