State must push to reopen road to Skywalk

There’s a problem with a short stretch of rocky road in northwest Arizona, but make no mistake, it’s having an impact 120 miles away here in Las Vegas.

Mohave County’s Diamond Bar Road runs nine miles to the Grand Canyon Skywalk, the glass-bottom platform run by the Hualapai tribe. About a mile of that road runs through Nigel Turner’s dude ranch.

In 2007, the federal government paid Mr. Turner $750,000 to keep that one mile of road open to tour buses until a bypass could be built around his property. That work was supposed to begin in February 2012, but it just got under way in April.

Mr. Turner, perhaps upset with the delay, had been charging tour buses $500 apiece to drive through that portion of his dude ranch. As outrageous as that might sound, Mr. Turner went even further this week. He was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of threatening and intimidating the bypass project foreman, and on Wednesday he shut off his property — and hired a 24-hour security detail.

This is hurting tour companies here, including Chinese Host Inc., whose president, David Huang, said he’s losing as much as $1,100 per day by not being able to ferry tourists — many of whom have traveled from as far as China and Thailand — to the Skywalk. It’s also a financial killer for the Hualapai.

Mr. Turner is acting in bad faith, and his efforts have gotten out of hand, particularly in light of the $750,000 he has already received, the work on the bypass that will take his property out of the mix, and the plans to reconstruct and pave Diamond Bar Road. Mr. Turner got a pretty sweet deal, even if the project is running behind.

This is a problem for Nevada, and state officials need to apply pressure to end this stalemate. It’s an Arizona matter, but much like the planned Interstate 11 project, Nevada has a big stake in getting Diamond Bar Road reopened until the bypass is done. It’s good for the tourist trade here in Southern Nevada, and it’s the neighborly and right thing to do for Arizona.

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