In Shiprock, there are two road departments; the BIA Road Department and the Navajo Nation Department of Transportation, neither of which will claim responsibility for the maintenance of one NR 546 that runs along the bluff above the San Juan River, a two mile stretch of road that is pitted with potholes over and over.
Again I voice opinions about this road which services many residents of the Mesa Farm Bluff Road area and which also serves as bus routes for two school districts (Shiprock Associated School and Central Consolidated School). Insignificant as we may be to politicians and managers in offices who do not have to travel this road, we who travel this road many times a day are important! Currently NR 546 is not any more improved from 2012 or before, when temporary patches were put on a thin layer of asphalt. Another method of repair of partially breaking old asphalt -- covering with dirt, and grading -- only held temporarily.
With the bad road, an accident was bound to happen and it did. Earlier this week, on Feb. 5, a bus from Central Consolidated Schools ran into a small car that was trying to avoid potholes and both vehicles ran off the road. Had there been kids still on the bus that afternoon, injuries could have occurred. Many other accidents have happened over the years by people trying not to hit the potholes and not to mention unnecessary expenses as people incurred the cost of vehicle tire repairs and other wheel repairs resulting from the bumpy, pitted road.
Was it only to appease or to give the appearance of some type of consideration that there was placed a counter at the entrance of the Mesa Farm Bluff Road turnoff by Hwy. 491 to count vehicles traveling on NR 546? Who will take responsibility to permanently fix this road? We have a BIA roads department who according to their mission statement still says, "The Bureau of Indian Affairs Navajo Regional Office's mission is to enhance the quality of life, facilitate economic opportunity, carry out the responsibility to protect and improve the trust assets of the Navajo Nation and individual Indians."