Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Sat, Sept. 19

Officials continue pushing for road upgrade

POLACCA—Officials from Hopi High are continuing to lobby to see that 13.7 miles from Polacca and Low Mountain are paved.

Ivan Sidney, president of the Hopi Junior/Senior High School Governing Board, said Hopi Road (HIR) 60 needs to be paved for the safety of students as well as for emergency vehicles. Hopi High School picks up several students along this route and takes the road in good weather for sports competitions at Pinon. The road is known to flood and could raise liability issues.

During bad weather, Hopi High School buses go the long way around to get to Pinon High School for sports competitions.

Sidney said if any accidents occur on this road that it could be hours before help arrives. He noted that the Hopi Tribe used to have a transportation department to deal with issues like this, but that no longer is the case.

Sidney said he was pleasantly surprised to learn this week that the Hopi Tribe has applied for a $3 million grant for the planning and design of the paving of HIR 60.

“If we hadn’t held these meting we would not have known about the grant application,” he said.

The funds would come from the federal highway administration but they would be distributed through the state.

Sidney said it is important to keep the pressure up since there is no guarantee that the grant will be approved.

Officials estimate that the paving would cost $10-12 million.

HIR 60 is entirely on Hopi land, but Sidney said paving the road would benefit both tribes. Officials from several Navajo chapters support the project. “If we have Navajo support we have more chance of getting the road paved,” said Sidney.

Sidney said Hopis and Navajos concerned about the road felt a grassroots initiative was needed to get the road paved. Proponents of the project plan to meet with Arizona State Senator Jack Jackson and State Rep. John Verkamp to gain legislative support for the paving.

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