Construction of new bridge provides safe route for Tsé Si áni community
TSÉ SI ÁNI, Ariz. — On Sept. 1, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, 24th Navajo Nation Council members, Navajo Area Bureau of Indian Affairs Regional Director Gregory Mehojah, and Tsé Si áni Chapter officials and residents gathered to celebrate the completion of the construction of a new two-lane concrete bridge along N9402 in the community of Tsé Si áni.
Located approximately 22-miles south of Window Rock, Arizona, the bridge replaces a deteriorated wooden bridge that was constructed over 40 years ago and often created transportation challenges for local residents, school buses, first responders and others.
In January 2020, the Navajo Division of Transportation (NDOT) successfully secured over $5 million from the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) for Tribal Transportation Program Bridge Program for the bridge project. However, the complete funding was not immediately available. Tsé Si áni Chapter officials and Council Delegate Raymond Smith, Jr. worked with Fort Defiance Chapter and Council Delegate Wilson Stewart, Jr. to reach an agreement to borrow a portion of funding that was allocated for a separate road project in Fort Defiance, to allow the construction of the new bridge in Tsé Si áni to proceed immediately.
The Resources and Development Committee approved the reallocation of the funds with the support of both communities. The road project for Fort Defiance will be fully funded with FY2022 funding from the Federal Highway Administration.
In late 2020, Nez finalized a contract with FNF Construction to complete the long-awaited project. Construction crews worked through the winter and completed the new bridge eight months ahead of schedule.
“With this project, the leaders of Tsé Si áni and Fort Defiance exemplify what can be accomplished when leaders and communities work together for the greater good of our people,” Nez said.
Tsé Si áni Chapter President Yvonne S. Murphy also spoke about the history and challenges that community members have dealt with for many years and presented a certificate of appreciation to the Fort Defiance Chapter for their support and collaboration.
The construction work included the removal of the old bridge, grading, placement of aggregate base course with stabilization, installation of drainage structures, 5-span concrete bridge, wire-enclosed riprap protection for abutments and channel, and other miscellaneous construction.
Information provided by the Office of the Navajo Nation President