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4/30/2013 6:00:00 AM
Work begins on paving the rest of Skywalk road
The Hualapai Tribe broke ground Monday on the final unpaved nine-mile piece of the road that leads to the Skywalk.SUZANNE ADAMS-OCKRASSA/Miner
The Hualapai Tribe broke ground Monday on the final unpaved nine-mile piece of the road that leads to the Skywalk.
SUZANNE ADAMS-OCKRASSA/Miner
Hualapai tribal leaders were on hand for Monday's ceremonial groundbreaking.
Hualapai tribal leaders were on hand for Monday's ceremonial groundbreaking.

Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa
Miner Staff Reporter


KINGMAN - The Hualapai Tribe hopes that a newly paved Diamond Bar Road will draw even more visitors to the Grand Canyon Skywalk, its star tourism attraction.

The tribe broke ground Monday morning on a $25 million project to pave the last nine miles of the 12-mile road to Grand Canyon West and the Skywalk. The Skywalk is a glass walkway that juts out from the side of the Grand Canyon on Hualapai land.

The safety of motorists on Diamond Bar Road has been a major issue for the tribe and Mohave County. Grand Canyon West had more than 700,000 visitors in 2011.

The work will smooth out some of the rough spots in the road and eliminate some of the blind, hairpin turns that motorists have to negotiate alongside huge tour buses.

"The Creator played a part in all of this. We should be proud. He did all this so we could survive," said Tribal Council Chairwoman Sherry Counts.

The tribe sought bids on the project in December. Fann Construction of Prescott was awarded the contract in February.

The money for the project comes from the federal Indian Reservation Road Fund, which provides money to U.S. Indian tribes to build and repair roads on their reservations.

Construction on the road is expected to take a year to complete. Traffic will continue to roll while the contractor works.

The story behind paving the last nine miles of the road is almost as twisting and turning as the road itself. It took nearly 20 years to complete the project.

The tribe started work on the road in the mid-1990s with the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and Mohave County.

"We went to them and said, 'Let us get off our knees. Let us use our own resources,' " said former Tribal Chairman Wilfred Whatonamie.

Everything seemed to be falling into place. An environmental impact study was completed and funding was supposed to come from the BIA's Indian Reservation Road Fund.

But in 2002, things went awry when local landowner Nigel Turner sued the BIA, BLM and the county over the road. Turner owns Grand Canyon West Ranch.

Turner was concerned because the road would run right through his ranch, which is a major tourist attraction. The lawsuit delayed the project for nearly five years and was finally settled in 2007, months before the Skywalk opened.

The tribe paved the first 4.5 miles in 2009, then spent the next four years saving enough money to complete the project.



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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, May 5, 2013
Article comment by: Capt. Nice

Just a thought, since the reservation claims to be a sovereign nation.
I wonder if the millions and millions of dollars they get as a yearly budget from Tax payers, if they will start returning money to the U.S. government since they are making all this money from their private enterprises.
I have a feeling they won't, plus their yearly budget from tax payer will continue to increase.....A person probably can't imagine how much money is spent on reservations across this country and what does the tax payers get for it...not a whole lot!


Posted: Thursday, May 2, 2013
Article comment by: V Stokes

"Grand Canyon West is privately owned and operated by the Hualapai Tribe and requires the purchase of a permit and Legacy tour package for entry".

So...they get Federal funds to build/improve the road that leads to their business alone...as far as I can tell. I guess it's a good thing for them, their tourists and the tour bus operators. Now they can run the buses faster and more often.


Posted: Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Article comment by: Capt. Nice

Hackberry road over to 93 could stand a bridge over the wash and black top, but after exhaustive phone calls to our fearless leaders and getting all sorts of excuses, I give up.
It just dawned on me since I do have some Indian blood in me maybe I can get the federal government to help me out, since our local reservation just has to ask and presto there is what ever they want.
I promise if the government does this for a whole lot of people who use the road, we will not destroy it within a year, by burning it down or tearing it down.
Maybe I will just forget it as I do not have the "you owe me" mentality.


Posted: Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Article comment by: original southsider

@frank lee speaking. You absolutely have no idea what you are talking about and frank lee sound like an idiot.

Alot of local businesses do alot of business with Grand Canyon West in fuel, food and beverage and other hospitality products. This also doesnt include the local towns people that work at GCW bringing their paychecks back to Kingman and buying in the local stores.

If you got out of your house you would see alot of foreigners walking around town shopping before the go to GCW- again buying locally.

I can bet the county generates seven figures in taxes due to GCW, so know what your talking about before you speak.


Posted: Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

Frankie

“So in other words, the American taxpayers are footing the bill for a road that benefits no one outside the tribe.”

So what part of, “Grand Canyon West had more than 700,000 visitors in 2011.” And “The work will smooth out some of the rough spots in the road and eliminate some of the blind, hairpin turns that motorists have to negotiate alongside huge tour buses.”

It would appear as if the visitors to Grand Canyon West will benefit greatly by the repair and paving of the road. And I would much rather see our tax dollars go for such a project instead of paying for a war based on lies from the only criminal to ever be appointed to the White House.


Posted: Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Article comment by: pearl w

The Hualapai Tribe is paving the road but it is still a Mohave County Road, maintained by the County and policed by the County. Signage is not the Tribe's responsibility but they are working to be an asset to the Dolan Springs community. When going to other major U.S. visitor attractions there are not a lot of signs with the kind of directives you suggest, but it's probably worth consideration.

Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Article comment by: OKAY BUT...

Carol, I think I understand your position, but that would have to be a sign as large as the Skywalk itself to include all tha messaget!

Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Article comment by: Frank Lee Speaking

"The money for the project comes from the federal Indian Reservation Road Fund, which provides money to U.S. Indian tribes to build and repair roads on their reservations."

So in other words, the American taxpayers are footing the bill for a road that benefits no one outside the tribe.

I'm shocked....shocked I tell ya!





Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Article comment by: Carol Ann Rivera-Miller

PLEASE...PLEASE...PLEASE...Include appropriate signage beginning from US 93 to SLOW TRAFFIC DOWN IN AREA. SOMETHING THAT SAYS....WELCOME....DO NOT BE IN A HURRY. SLOW DOWN / RELAX. PLEASE DO THE SPEED LIMIT OF 25MPH THROUGH TOWN. WATCH FOR SENIORS & CHILDREN WALKING. FRIENDLY TRAVEL ASSISTANCE AHEAD. ENJOY THE BEAUTY OF THE SURROUNDINGS. THANK YOU.

If it has been decided that the Hualapai will complete this road....will they also police it?




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