Road plan includes gravel pit, Chinle to Nazlini road

By Arlyssa Becenti and Cindy Yurth
Navajo Times


Seventeen-and-a-half miles.

That’s the extent of paved roads the Navajo Nation can afford to build each year based on its federal highway allocation of $54 million, the principal engineer for the Navajo Nation Department of Transportation told a room full of frustrated chapter officials and community members at a public meeting on the Nation’s transportation plan last month.

The unveiling of the five-year Navajo Nation Tribal Transportation Improvement Plan at Chinle Chapter Aug. 24 turned into more of a roast of NNDOT as Central Agency chapter officials wondered aloud why their pet projects weren’t on the list.

“At the clinic, they tell us not to shake our babies,” quipped Piñon Chapter President Bessie Allen. “Then they get shaken every day as the school bus goes down our rutted roads. I wonder how their brains are by now?”

Officials from the more rural chapters took issue with the criteria NNDOT was using to decide which roads to fix first, including “ADT,” or average daily traffic. “I don’t like that word, ‘ADT,’” growled Dorothy Yazzie, secretary for Black Mesa Chapter’s land-use planning committee, opining that factors such as access to schools and health care should take precedence.

NNDOT Principal Engineer Darryl Bradley noted that other factors go into the decision as well, such as whether the road is a school bus route or the only road in and out of a community. But, he said, “A road that gets 4,000 cars a day is more important to the Nation as a whole than a road that gets 400 cars a day. And we have roads in Shiprock, Tuba City, Crownpoint and Kayenta that get that much traffic and need to be fixed.”

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Categories: News