Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Wed, Oct. 28

Navajo County signs historic agreement with Navajo Nation
Two road yards to be constructed in Dilkon, Pinon

HOLBROOK, Ariz. - Led by Supervisors Percy Deal and Jesse Thompson, the Navajo County Board of Supervisors unanimously endorsed a historic agreement with the Navajo Nation to facilitate the construction of two road yards designed to improve the quality and safety of roads in Northern Navajo County. The resolution formalizing the agreements was signed by the County Board of Supervisors at its Dec. 2 meeting.

The product of years of negotiations and compromise, the resolutions allow Navajo County and the Navajo Nation to partner in the construction of road yards in Dilkon and Pinon over the next two to three years. After that time, Navajo Department of Transportation (NDOT) will operate and maintain the facilities, providing reservation residents with a more consistent, safe, and reliable road network than they enjoy today.

"This is a historic day for northern Navajo County," declared Deal. "For years, the residents in these communities have been forced to rely on substandard, unmaintained roads that make traveling by car a scary proposition. These road yards will allow the Navajo Department of Transportation to take over regular maintenance of the roads and provide these residents with the infrastructure they need and deserve."

Thompson, whose district includes the Dilkon Chapter, expressed his excitement as well.

"I'd like to thank Tom Platero of NDOT and Dusty Parsons for their hard work on this issue," he said. "They spent countless hours on this, and they should be proud of their success."

Kendall Long, Program Manager for NDOT attended the Board meeting and expressed appreciation for the County's assistance.

"We want to thank the Board for their support throughout this process," he said.

The Transportation and Community Development Committee authorized NDOT to use the Fuel Excise Tax as a one-time deal towards purchasing the new equipment for road maintenance and safety. According to Long, the Navajo Nation made a bit of history by purchasing 12 road graders at once, making it the biggest one-time purchase ever.

"We are hoping to purchase 10 more by the end of the year," Long said. "We need them out on the field, especially for the winter months."

Long said that he would like to uphold the Navajo DOT mission statement of maintaining transportation infrastructure to ensure safe and reliable mobility for the Navajo people by eventually having 110 motor graders to accommodate each chapter.

In addition to the graders, eight water trucks, three front-end loaders, three transport trucks, three belly-dump trailers, three lowboy trailers and two soil compactors were also purchased.

The unanimous vote of the Board signaled Navajo County's willingness to play a more proactive role in improving conditions on the reservation, where nearly half of the County's residents reside. The agreement also signals the County's respect for the Nation's sovereignty.

"Nothing in this agreement violates Navajo Nation sovereignty," Deal stated. "This was very important to Supervisor Thompson and I."

Deal noted that the agreement with the Nation was only possible because of the outstanding relationship between County leadership and the Nation.

"The Navajo Nation plans to construct over 20 road yards throughout the reservation, and will be using these two road yards as models," Deal said. "This is an innovative partnership that will benefit the residents of this area for years to come."

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