MONUMENT VALLEY, Utah — The Oljato community broke ground for new highway roundabout in Monument Valley June 14.
Council Delegate Herman Daniels, Jr. (Shonto, Naa’tsis’áán, Oljato, Ts’áh Bii Kin) and Oljato Chapter officials met with staff from Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert’s office, Utah Department of Transportation and Utah San Juan County officials at the Monument Valley Welcome Center, regarding a proposed highway roundabout that would be constructed at the intersection of U.S. Highway 163 and Monument Valley Road, which leads to the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park.
According to local chapter officials, the intersection has been a critical issue for the community due to the high rate of traffic and tourists that visit Monument Valley year-round and its overall effects on the safety of students being transported, as well as visitors to the tribal park.
Daniels said the chapter initiated the project by advocating to state leaders and county officials through meetings and supporting resolutions from the chapter and the Navajo Utah Commission.
“With the supporting resolutions and a memo drafted from the Law and Order Committee, requesting funding for the roundabout, myself and other Navajo leaders met with Gov. Herbert and his office to advocate for this roundabout because of safety concerns. I am very happy to see this project become a reality,” Daniels said.
Daniels thanked Herbert’s office and the Utah Department of Transportation for funding the project and declaring the roundabout a high-priority initiative. He added that the roundabout would save lives and prevent further possible dangers at the busy intersection.
According to the state officials, the cost for the proposed roundabout is approximately $2 million and will be fully funded by the state of Utah. Bids for the project will take place between February and March 2019, and anticipate completing the construction of the roundabout before the tourism season begins next year.
“The Monument Valley Park and the tourism it provides to the community is vital, however, it is even more important to protect our children and the visitors who come to our community annually,” Daniels said. “The advocacy and determination from the chapter officials has proven successful and I would like to thank them for their hard work for continuing to make our community a better and safer place.”
Information provided by the Navajo Nation Office of the Speaker