New Hell Canyon bridge on Route 89 opens

The Arizona Department of Transportation has opened the new state Route 89 bridge at Hell Canyon after 13 months of work on the project.

The new bridge is longer, wider and more suited to commercial traffic between Prescott and Interstate 40 than the 62-year-old span it replaced.

“SR 89 between Prescott and I-40 is not only an important commuter route between central and northern Arizona, but is also a key strategic detour route, when there are closures to I-17, I-40 and US 93,” ADOT Northwest District Engineer Alvin Stump said. “The new bridge will help ensure that SR 89 can continue to provide these critical transportation needs, including oversized commercial loads.”

The Hell Canyon Bridge, approximately 18 miles north of Chino Valley between Prescott and Ash Fork, is expected to handle about 3,400 vehicles each day.

The first bridge over Hell Canyon was built in 1923 as part of the Prescott to Ash Fork Highway. That bridge was abandoned in 1954 when road alignment changed and the just-replaced bridge was built.

The new bridge is 665 feet long and 47 feet wide and has added strength from a fourth span. It has 12-foot lanes and 10-foot shoulders in each direction.

The old bridge, which no longer met state and federal design standards, will be dismantled over the next few months.

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