BESHBITO, Ariz — On Aug. 8, the Navajo Division of Transportation (NDOT), Apache County District 2 and community of Beshbito came together to celebrate the completion of a three-mile road resurfacing project for Navajo Route 9056 in Beshbito, Arizona.
At the ribbon cutting event, NDOT Division Director Garret Silversmith said the $650,000 project was a partnership between NDOT and Apache County District 2 that addressed grade, drainage, culvert installation and soil stabilization to improve N9056.
“This project began with earthwork, cutting and filling and placement of material. In doing this, we were able to eliminate some of the blind spots. If you’ve driven this road previously, you’ll notice the changes,” Silversmith said. “After addressing grade, we put down a base course of limestone. From there Durablend, which is a soil stabilizer, was applied.”
Apache County District 2 Supervisor, Alton Joe Shepherd thanked his constituency within the Jeddito Chapter and Beshbito valley for their persistence in having the road improved.
“It took years of working together and passing resolutions. From what I understand, this road has been ready for improvement for 20 years,” Shepherd said. “What this road represents is people coming together to overcome the obstacles of different levels of bureaucracy to accomplish something positive for a rural community.”
Shepherd, who served on the 23rd Navajo Nation Council as chairman of the Resource and Development Committee (RDC), said he leveraged his leadership along with data and statistics from the Long Range Transportation Plan to secure funding to improve N9056.
NDOT project manager Marlinda Littleman said the partnership, which included an intergovernmental agreement with Apache County District 2, benefited the project by extending the length of the improvements.
“NDOT was able to maximize its resources through the partnership with Apache County, who were able to use their resources, like the limestone base course and manpower, to lengthen the road improvements,” Littleman said. “Projects like this bring forth the human need that exists in improving roads which in turn, improve lives.”
These types of road improvement projects take proper planning to develop. Jeddito Chapter president, Eugene Haswood said the project was the cumulative effort of past and current leadership.
“I’m grateful that our leadership in Window Rock acknowledges our needs here in such a rural community like Jeddito,” Haswood said. “It’s great that I’ve been able to work with the past and current administrations, along with NDOT, to provide these improvements to the Navajo people. Although there were countless meetings in the past, these projects are coming to the surface.”
Haswood said the thoughts and prayers of his community have brought the resurfacing of N9056 to reality.
The significance of this project was apparent in the representation of tribal and county leadership in attendance at the ribbon cutting.
Navajo Nation Vice President Myron Lizer commended NDOT and Apache County District 2 for their collaboration in improving a road that provides access to school busses and emergency responders.
“This was a great partnership between the county and NDOT. I want to commend those who were involved in the reality we’ve experienced here today,” Lizer said. “Several leaders have worked on this project for nearly 20 years. Let our prayer be that it doesn’t take another 20 years to advance the quality of life in the community of Jeddito.”
Information provided by Navajo Nation Department of Transportation