County moves forward with repairs to historic Woodruff-Snowflake bridge


By Chanae Nielson

Renovations to the historic Woodruff-Snowflake Bridge can now move forward, thanks to an amendment to an intergovernmental agreement with the State of Arizona approved by the Navajo County Board of Supervisors last week.

Built in 1917, the bridge spans two cliff faces above the Little Colorado River. It was originally placed in Winslow, but was relocated in 1939 and a wider bridge with greater load capacity was built in Winslow. In 1988, the original structure was placed on the historic register. It is one of many on the National Parks Historic Register created by Omaha Structural Steel Works, including the St. Joseph (Obed) Bridge located southeast of Joseph City on the Joseph City-Holbrook road.

It was last renovated in 1940, and deterioration throughout the years has necessitated a three-ton weight limit. The repairs will strengthen the bridge by replacing the wooden decking with a concrete deck. It will also repair damaged steel girders, do lead abatement and add a new coat of paint.

Unfortunately, the rehabilitation project ran into additional costs, partly due to additional review processes and also when exploratory digging revealed structural and reinforcement issues requiring redesign.

Navajo County initially anticipated expenses of $130,586 for the project. Without this amendment, the county share with added increases was expected to run about $228,000.

The amendment restructured the funding to decrease the county share of the anticipated cost and includes an additional $77,000 in funding through the Arizona Department of Transportation. The total cost of project completion is now estimated at $1.47 million, with Navajo County’s contribution expected to be $149,026.

In other action Dec. 13, the board:

* Approved an agreement allowing for data sharing from the Navajo County Sheriff’s Office with Arizona State University and the Centers for Disease Control. The agreement will allow the collection of statistics regarding violent deaths from the sheriff’s office records, and the information collected will be used to potentially predict suicidal or homicidal behavioral patterns.

* Authorized rescinding a professional contract with Doyel Shamley and Veritas Research Consulting, LTD. It was noted that the services rendered have been an asset in forest management planning for Navajo County, but the contract represents a conflict of interest after Shamley’s recent election as a supervisor in Apache County, and due to the possibility that the two counties might eventually be competing for the same grants or funding.

* Reviewed and approved the existing Navajo County Hazardous Materials Response Plan, as required annually.

* Approved a task agreement with the Bureau of Indian Affairs allowing the acquisition and site delivery of an estimated $1,500 worth of corrugated metal drainage pipes with Navajo County funds for repairs to roads within the Bureau of Indian Affairs District 2 area. The BIA will then be responsible for installing and maintaining the pipes.

* Reviewed and approved the findings of a third-party audit of accounts for the White Mountain Lakes Recreation District. The audit did not reveal any evidence of misappropriations of funds, but did reveal some minor issues in the way that finances had been handled in the past and addressed ways to prevent possible abuses in the future.

* Approved a two-year professional services contract with Debra Smalley, RNP, CNM for public health services related to family planning and sexually transmitted diseases beginning Jan. 1, 2017, at a rate of $2,000 per month. The contract is part-time. Smalley has been providing these services for more than eight years in Navajo County.

* Approved the extension of an existing memorandum of understanding between the Navajo Nation and Navajo County for an additional five years. The memorandum lays the foundation and framework for project specific intergovernmental agreements identified as appropriate for joint cooperation in respect to transportation projects of mutual benefit.

* Received legal advice in executive session from the county attorney regarding pending litigation with Virginia A. Ward.