From left to right are Federal Highway Administration representatives Todd Brockmann and Misty Klann, Guy Engineering President John Blickensderfer, Guy Engineering Vice President of Business Development Rebecca Alvarez, Cherokee Nation Department of Transportation Director Michael Lynn, Sequoyah County District 2 Commissioner Steve Carter, Cherokee Nation Businesses Board Member Dan Carter, Principal Chief Bill John Baker, Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr., Guy Engineering civil engineer Ryan Bellatti, Cherokee Nation Tribal Councilor E.O. Smith, Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, and Cherokee Nation Construction Manager Barry Hood.
Cherokee Nation and Sequoyah County officials gathered near Sallisaw Monday to dedicate a newly paved six-mile stretch of Dwight Mission Road in rural Sequoyah County.
The $1.13 million project includes an asphalt overlay covering nearly six miles of road, along with the placement of gravel shoulders, new striping and the installation of new signs.
“Dwight Mission Road is an important route traveled by many of the residents and visitors in Sequoyah County each and every day, and it also leads into the scenic Cherokee National Park,” said Cherokee Nation Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden. “This is another example of our tribal government’s commitment to building strong and positive partnerships with county and city governments in northeast Oklahoma. Collaborations like the one we completed on Dwight Mission Road improve the lives not only of Cherokees, but of non-Cherokees, as well.”
Cherokee Nation used Federal Highway Administration Tribal Transportation Program funds to cover the costs. The tribe chose JOB Construction of Poteau as the contractor for the project.
“I’m not only a county commissioner, but I’m also a Cherokee Nation citizen, and it means so much to me to be able to say to the citizens in Sequoyah County it’s my chief, my tribe and my council members who made this project happen,” said Sequoyah County District 2 Commissioner Steve Carter. “I get to live the best of both worlds on a project like this, and I can’t say enough good things about this partnership.”
The road project stretches between Interstate 40 south to the Cherokee National Park and its camping areas adjacent to the Robert S. Kerr Reservoir. The park includes about 800 acres of tribal land open to the public for picnicking, primitive camping, fishing, hiking, trail riding and hunting during specified dates.
“The response by area residents to the Cherokee Nation's development of the park has been really positive,” said Cherokee Nation Tribal Councilor E.O. Smith, of Vian. “Everyone talks about how beautiful it is, and the possibilities for additions are endless. Hopefully, we'll add another riding trail, and there's been talk of building cabins and adding more RV hookups, and possibly an archery range. Regardless of what is built, our folks will love it. I've heard nothing but good things from the folks who use the park.”
In fiscal year 2017, the Cherokee Nation used $7.7 million in federal and tribal funds to replace 61 miles of roadway and two bridges in the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction.
Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director
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