By Nick Worth
The Navajo County Public Works Department has a full calendar planned for 2014, according to department director Homero Vela.
Vela outlined several capital improvement projects for the coming year, including the completion of the $4.4 million remodeling of the Navajo County Jail this coming spring and the $4.5 million Public Works Complex, due to be finished in October.
Other projects on the horizon for 2014 include doing the design work on the Old Woodruff Bridge rehabilitation project. The design phase is budgeted at $142,750 and should be completed by March. The work on the bridge will begin in July and is expected to be complete in October 2015.
The Chevelon Creek Bridge rehabilitation project is almost finished, said Vela, and is expected to re-open this month. The capacity of the bridge was increased to 20 tons, doubling its former limit.
Another bridge project on the drawing board is a $319,000 resurfacing of the Woodruff Concrete Bridge, which is scheduled to start in the second half of 2014 and should be completed sometime in the summer of 2015.
Vela also said three road projects are scheduled for 2014. They include a new $10,000 guardrail on Porter Mountain Road, to be built in the spring, plus a $120,000 guardrail installation on Old Highway 160, and a new guardrail and box culvert on the Concho Highway.
The Concho project will include widening the road at that point. Both it and the Highway 160 guardrail are scheduled to be completed in the late summer of next year.
Although work will not start on it until 2016, the Winslow Levee project remains on the county’s drawing boards. Vela said he will be going to a meeting in Los Angeles this month, and that Colonel Kimberly Colloton, commander of the Los Angeles District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, will pay a visit to Winslow in February.
Right now, a $5.7 million feasibility study is underway and should be completed this year. Vela said 50 percent of the cost is payable by Navajo County and 50 percent by the federal government.
A flood control project on a smaller scale is set for this spring in the Pinetop-Lakeside area to improve drainage at Tall Pine and Elk Road.
“We’re working with the communities to get the easements for water conveyance,” said Vela. He said the county has subcontracted the design of the project to Tetra Tech of Show Low.
Starting in the spring, county road crews will be fog-sealing several county roads including: 6.1 miles of High Country Pines subdivision; one mile of Christmas Tree Circle; 8.1 miles of Lone Pine Dam Road; 8.4 miles of Hay Hollow Road; 1.6 miles of North Mark Twain Drive; one mile of Moon Creek Circle; 1.4 miles of Black Canyon Road; and one mile of Zane Grey Area. The total cost for the fog sealing will be $1,448,358.
Hot asphaltic overlays will be done on the following: 2.99 miles of Joseph City Townsite; 1.19 miles in the Lakeside area; .37 miles of Parkway; and 1.5 miles in the Rainbow Lake area. The total cost for the asphalt overlays will be $3,709,439.
“We’ll also be crack sealing every road, every three years,” said Vela. He noted the county has 300 miles of paved roads under its care.
“We’ll be crack sealing 100 miles of road per year,” said Vela. “Then we start all over again.”
For the hot asphalt overlays, Vela said the road crews would lay two to four inches of asphalt pavement over the tops of good roads, and would do millings and new pavement on roads in bad condition.
One final project will include expanding the Smart Phone apps to include inspection of roads, guardrails, cattle guards and signs. The phones are already used for inspecting signage in the county.
The cooperative agreement with the Navajo Nation to apply crushed “Red Dog” gravel to roads on the Navajo Reservation in cooperation with the Navajo Department of Transportation and the various chapters is to be continued this year.
“We’re also working to offer an opportunity to the Hopi Tribe, the Navajo Nation and White Mountain Apache Tribe to visit with us if they need road equipment repairs,” said Vela. “They would pay for labor and parts.”
Vela noted it is a plus for Navajo County and for the Native American chapters in the county.
“It’s a great idea, because it gets more motor graders out there,” Vela said. “Instead of them calling the county and asking for our help because they have a grader down–and sometimes we have to say no–it’s helping them to become more self-sufficient. It’s going in the right direction.”
By Nick Worth