DILKON/PINON CHAPTERS, Ariz. - Chapter officials and community members from the Dilkon and Pinon Chapters, representatives from the Navajo Department of Transportation (NDOT), various elected officials and staff from Navajo County and the Navajo Nation celebrated the dedication and ground breaking of two new road maintenance facilities cooperatively funded by Navajo County and the Navajo Nation on Nov. 9.
When completed, the new facilities will significantly expand NDOT's ability to maintain roads in the southwest Navajo Nation, enhancing public safety and transportation services to local residents.
The road yards, located in the Pinon and Dilkon Chapters, are being funded through a historic and unprecedented agreement between Navajo County and the Navajo Nation. Under the agreement, Navajo County and the Nation are splitting the cost of construction, with each agency paying half of the project's cost. Upon completion of the facilities, the Navajo Department of Transportation will begin using the facilities to maintain existing Bureau of Indian Affairs roads, many of which are in disrepair.
"This is a historic day, a day to celebrate the partnership between our agencies," said District 2 Supervisor Jesse Thompson, whose district includes the Dilkon Chapter. "Look how much we can accomplish when we work together."
District 1 Supervisor Jonathan Nez, whose district includes the Pinon Chapter, agreed.
"We need a streamlined maintenance process, especially in times of road emergencies," he said. "These facilities will help our residents travel more safely in the winter months."
The dedication ceremonies included a traditional blessing of the site by Paul Long Sr., a traditional Navajo medicine man and remarks by local officials, including Navajo council delegates Samson Begay, Johnny Naize and Lorenzo Bedonie, along with former Navajo County Supervisor Percy Deal. Also in attendance were Pinon Chapter President Bessie Allen and Vice President Evelyn Meadows.
Following the ceremonies were receptions at the Pinon and Dilkon Chapter Houses.
Navajo County Attorney Brad Carlyon, whose office coordinated the county's work on the agreement, expressed his enthusiasm.
"I want to congratulate all who have contributed tirelessly to get this project to this point," Attorney Carlyon said. "Your efforts are greatly appreciated."
The projects began on Nov. 11 and will take about 300 days to complete.