On May 28, ADOT officially began construction on N20.
An official groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled June 9.
Marking months of planning and collaboration, the Navajo
Division of Transportation and ADOT are ready to officially break ground on the Navajo Route 20 paving project.
The ceremony, scheduled to take place 10 a.m. Sunday, June 9
at the Tsinaabaas Habitiin Elementary School in Bodaway-Gap, represents the
start of a project that will (in about three months) build a much shorter
detour around the closure on US 89
“The paving of 28 miles of dirt road for use as an emergency
detour route is unprecedented for Indian Country,” said Paulson Chaco, director of the Navajo Division of Transportation. “We have worked closely with ADOT and
our other partners to realize this project.”
More on the project
The Navajo Division of Transportation, ADOT, the Federal
Highway Administration and the Bureau of Indian Affairs have been working together
since the closure of US 89 to utilize N20 as a detour route.
Immediately after the road closure, Navajo Nation President
Ben Shelly directed the Navajo Division of Transportation to work with ADOT on
the possibility of paving N20 as an alternative detour route.
On Feb. 24, Shelly and Navajo Nation Executive Branch
leadership organized a meeting at the Bodaway-Gap Chapter and met with
residents affected by the road closure.
The Navajo Division of Transportation assisted ADOT with the
expedient processing of a temporary construction easement for construction. The
lengthy tribal process typically takes months and even years to complete.
ADOT’s easement was processed within weeks through assistance from tribal
departments and the BIA.
Currently, motorists are traveling a 115-mile detour,
driving east on US 160 to State Route 98 north for access to and from Page. The
new N20 detour route will reduce travel time and mileage by half.