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Federal Government Shutdown Slows Snow Removal on Navajo Nation Roads

Navajo Division of Transportation

Navajo transportation officials say the partial federal government shutdown has slowed efforts to plow roads on the reservation after last week’s heavy snowfall. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

According to the Navajo Division of Transportation, nearly 8,000 miles of roads managed by Bureau of Indian Affairs remain mostly unplowed as the shutdown nears its second week. The BIA is part of the Interior Department, which has furloughed thousands of its workers.

Navajo DOT officials say they’re racing the clock before thawing creates impassible mud on the reservation’s many unpaved roads.

Tribal transportation crews along with limited federal staff are working to remove deep snow on the most highly traveled routes. But plowing more remote areas of the Navajo Nation could take far longer.

Officials urge drivers to use caution as snow removal continues. For information on specific routes and for maintenance requests, contact Navajo DOT planners.

Ryan Heinsius joined the KNAU newsroom as executive producer in 2013 and was named news director and managing editor in 2024. As a reporter, he has covered a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Public Media Journalists Association Award winner, and a frequent contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and national newscast.
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