Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Thu, April 02

Kayenta Township plans $1.6 million road improvement and drainage system project for Wetherill Heights

Flooding in the Wetherill Heights neighborhood will soon be a problem of the past. Officials from the Kayenta Township plan to start a $1.6 million road improvement and drainage system project to remedy constant flooding during the monsoon season.

For the past several years, the Wetherill Heights community suffered poor conditions every time it rained. After micro bursts of continuous rainfall, some of the residents' homes and yards would start to flood.

The road project entails road stabilization, along with the addition of three to five-foot detention basins, which will capture run-off from the roadways. The basins will be in place to reduce the speed of water, therefore reducing the amount of corrosion adjacent to the roadways and flooding of homes and schools downstream from the project.

Gabriel Yazzie, department manager for the Kayenta Township Construction and Developments Department, said the project was the result of concerns expressed by the community.

When it rained, the township would take matters into its own hands and set up barricades to redirect the water. However, the water would be directed into other home-sites, and that is when the township decided to bring in the help of an engineer and a contractor.

The township, with the assistance of engineers from Coe and Van Loo Consultants Inc. and contractors from BITCO-Kitchell of Albuquerque, N.M., worked together to complete construction documents for the Wetherill Heights project. The group hopes to complete these necessary documents by the end of the month.

In order to get things started, a drainage analysis was devised, requiring an aircraft to fly over the township to collect photos of its topography, and then inputting the information into software that could project a 100-year flood event.

The software then emphasized areas of the community that are subject to flooding and determined the sizes of the washes and basins, direction of the water flow, and where the water can be redirected.

"Community members will no longer have to travel along bumpy or makeshift roads," said Yazzie. "They won't have to worry about water shedding into their home-sites or about mud build-up. This will also allow ease of access for safety vehicles."

The road improvement and drainage project was initiated last summer as part of the Kayenta Township's Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) and is solely paid for by the township's general funds, which are taxpayers' dollars.

The CIP contains a list of significant projects of priority that are in the beginning stages, are in the works, or have been completed for the purpose of improving the community. CIP projects involve roads, sidewalks, utilities, parks and recreation, and new buildings.

The Kayenta Township is the first established municipal-structured government on the Navajo Nation and it serves as a permanent political sub-division. Local visionaries who understood the need to harness and promote local empowerment in its truest form, in order to promote stability and improve the quality of life of its residents, established the Kayenta Township.

More information is available by contacting the Kayenta Township at (928) 697-8451 or at

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