Bridge closure north of Morenci to continue; could last several weeks

File Photo By Walter Mares: The bridge north of Morenci on U.S. 191 North will remain closed for further repairs.

Staff Reports

MORENCI — A bridge on U.S. Highway 191 North about 7 miles north of the entrance to the Morenci mine will remain closed for an extended period of time. The bridge was initially closed Thursday, Feb. 28, for urgently needed repairs to a bridge abutment.

U.S. Highway 191 North will remain open except for the area around the bridge, which is located north of Morenci, near milepost 177. There is no estimated time for the bridge to reopen, but state officials have reported that it could be several weeks before it is deemed safe to use.

Drivers traveling between Morenci and Alpine will need to take U.S. Highway 191 south from Morenci to Three Way, follow State Route 78 east into New Mexico to U.S. Highway 180, and follow U.S. Highway 180 north to Alpine.

The bridge was built by Freeport-McMoRan Inc., which operates the mine. The engineer who designed the bridge inspected it recently and recommended that it be closed for repairs to address deterioration to the abutment that has occurred over time.

The Arizona Department of Transportation issued an update and advised that it is working with Freeport-McMoRan Inc. to gather design proposals for the fix.

“We recognize the significant disruption the closure is causing people who live, work, and travel through the closed section of highway,” ADOT said it its report. “We will move as quickly as possible to reopen the bridge.”

For more information on the closure contact ADOT Community Relations Project Manager Jeremiah Moerke at