One-third of paving completed on unpaved road to Grand Canyon West

Hualapai Tribe to move forward with second phase of paving

GRAND CANYON WEST - The first phase of paving Diamond Bar Road, the infamous road leading to Grand Canyon West, is now completed. The Hualapai Tribe, with cooperation from Mohave County Public Works, successfully reconstructed and paved 4.5 miles - nearly one third - of the previously unpaved 14-mile stretch of road. Diamond Bar Road is owned by Mohave County and is the primary access road to Grand Canyon West. The first phase of the project cost $7.5 million, which was paid for by the Hualapai Tribe. The second phase that will reconstruct and pave the remaining portion of road is expected to go out to bid in the spring and cost $40 million, which will also be financed by the Hualapai Tribe and possibly government grants. Until entirely completed, Mohave County Public Works is regularly maintaining the remaining unpaved driving surface of Diamond Bar Road. These improvements have dramatically increased the functionality and safety of the road.

"Paving Diamond Bar [Road] has been a long time in the making. Years even. It's a big relief to us and our visitors," said Wilfred Whatoname Sr., Chairman of the Hualapai Tribe. "The completion of this first section of road was a highly anticipated step to increase safety and accessibility to Grand Canyon West."

"Seems like every year we are getting more and more within reach," said Robert Bravo Jr., General Manager of Grand Canyon West. "Once projects like the road [Diamond Bar Road] and the Hoover Dam Bypass [expected to be completed at the end of 2010] are done, it will significantly reduce travel time. In most cases, like with visitors from Las Vegas, it will shorten the trip by up to two hours roundtrip. The new segment of paved road already saves visitors 30 minutes."

The Diamond Bar Road project started more than 12 years ago. Environmental considerations, coordination between multiple government agencies, and funding were all essential components that were years in the making. The reconstruction and paving of the road began in May 2009. The project met extensive EPA compliance, which included the relocation of native plant life as well as many other environmentally conscious precautions. The collaboration between the Hualapai Tribe and Mohave County Public Works, particularly the assistance of Mike Hendrix, Director and Monte Wilson, Engineering Manager, has been instrumental to the current maintenance of the remaining unpaved driving surface.

Grand Canyon Resort Corporation, which is wholly owned and operated by the Hualapai Nation, manages Grand Canyon West, Hualapai River Runners (whitewater rafting), and the Hualapai Lodge. Grand Canyon West is a collection of viewpoints and attractions spread over 9,000 acres of the Grand Canyon's West Rim in northwest Arizona, just 120 miles east of Las Vegas, Nevada. Grand Canyon West is the only place in the Canyon where visitors can access a boat ride on the Colorado River via helicopter and is home to the Grand Canyon Skywalk, a glass walkway 4,000 feet above the canyon floor.

Visitors can view a complete list of activities, book reservations, and get directions at www.grandcanyonwest.com or by calling 1-888-868-9378.

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