Grand opening of new NDOT road yards celebrated

<i>Courtesy photo</i><br>
The exterior of the new Navajo DOT road yard in Pinon.

<i>Courtesy photo</i><br> The exterior of the new Navajo DOT road yard in Pinon.

HOLBROOK, Ariz. - Navajo County Supervisors Jesse Thompson and Jonathan Nez, Sheriff K.C. Clark and Attorney Brad Carlyon joined Navajo Nation Council Delegates Elmer Begay, Lee Jack, Preston McCabe, Samson Begay, and Lorenzo Bedonie, local chapter leaders and Navajo Division of Transportation Director Tom Platero in the grand opening of new Navajo DOT road yards in Dilkon and Pinon on Oct. 5-6.

Jointly funded by the Navajo Nation and Navajo County, the new road yards enhance Navajo DOT's ability to build and maintain roads and respond to emergencies in the southwest portion of the Navajo Nation. Navajo DOT crews will soon stage from the two chapters, improving conditions for local residents.

The completion of the road yards is the culmination of several years of work by Navajo DOT and Navajo County officials, who overcame legal and logistical barriers to work cooperatively on the yards. While the construction costs were shared by both Navajo County, which contributed $1.5 million, and Navajo DOT, the yards themselves will be staffed by Navajo DOT personnel.

"This is a great day for the Navajo Nation and Navajo County," Supervisor Nez stated. "The two road yards built reflect a strong partnership between our two organizations that will benefit the residents of this area for years to come. I am hopeful that we can explore similar joint efforts in the Kayenta and Shonto region as well."

Delegate Jack acknowledged the county's involvement in the construction of the two road yards. "I want to thank Navajo County and Supervisor Jesse Thompson for his efforts. He is very proactive and has done a lot to help the residents of his district. He is very involved and doing a great job."

Pinon Chapter Vice President Bessie Allen echoed Jack's remarks. "I can never say enough about Navajo County. We have become very good friends with our Navajo County officials and work very well with them."

The two road yards both sit on four-acre sites and include service bays, offices, and conference rooms in 10,000+ square-foot buildings. The yards were constructed by Dean Douglas Development and designed by Johnson Walzer Associates. The road yard dedications featured presentations from members of the public, including local school children and at the Pinon event, Miss Navajo Nation Winifred Jumbo expressed her gratitude to all those who made the road yards possible.

Sampson Begay, Chairman of the Navajo Nation Transportation and Community Development Committee (TCDC) expressed his thanks. "I am awed by what has taken place here. The only thing I have in my heart is to say thank you to Navajo DOT Director Tom Platero, to Navajo County Supervisors Jesse Thompson and Jonathan M. Nez. I am very thankful."

Begay emphasized the importance of a reliable road network to the Navajo people. "I sincerely believe that improved roads are the future of our Navajo people. Improved roads will provide better access to schools, health facilities, and shopping, which will improve the well being of our people."

Begay also acknowledged the assistance of Navajo County Public Works officials in the construction of the yards. "It used to be that you would have to travel to Holbrook to see county officials. Now, our county officials are constantly visiting the reservation and traveling our roads. We see them all the time."

Platero specifically recognized the contribution of TCDC members and Navajo County Assistant County Manager Dusty Parsons. "These are the people who made these road yards possible. They are the individuals who have supported Navajo DOT from the beginning. It took a lot of confidence and commitment for them to do this."

Supervisor Nez pointed out that facility would not only benefit those who use roads in Region 8 and 12, but the nation as a whole through improved economic development. "There is no economic development without good road infrastructure," Nez said.

Supervisor Thompson applauded the partnership between the county and nation. "The construction of these road yards reflects the strong partnership that exists between Navajo County and the Navajo Nation," Thompson said. "We believe these road yards will make a real difference in the lives of our residents."

Platero emphasized that the new road yards are the first in the Division's plans to construct 20 such yards throughout the Navajo Nation.

"This is just the beginning," he said.

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