Sunday, September 12, 2010

Roadtrip Over The Hoover Dam Bypass and the Mike O'Callaghan - Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge

The Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge is scheduled to have vehicles drive over it this coming November.

A new crossing was needed across the Colorado River, at Hoover Dam, because traffic had grown too busy for the two lane highway across the dam to handle.

The section of Highway 93 that leads to Hoover Dam is a narrow, twisting, turning, steep, treacherous stretch of road. Trucks had been banned from crossing the dam since shortly after 9/11, routed to cross the Colorado at Laughlin, instead.

The Hoover Dam Bypass will be a 4 lane highway.

The construction of the new bridge has been one of the world's most complex current construction engineering projects.

The arches are made of 106 concrete pieces,, 24 feet long, with most of them cast in place.

The project required using 2,300 ft. long cables, held by a crane system to lift material and workers from river level to the construction site. In September of 2006 high winds caused the cable/cranes to fail, resulting in a 2 year delay in the project.

The arch span is 1,060 feet long, the bridge on top of the arch span is 1,900 feet long. The bridge deck roadway and sidewalk is approximately 900 feet above the Colorado River, and approximately 1,500 feet south of Hoover Dam.

The pedestrian sidewalk will be on the north side of the Bridge, facing Hoover Dam. There will be a parking lot, interpretive plaza and trail leading to the sidewalk on the Bridge.

The bridge was designed to be aesthetically compatible with Hoover Dam. Judging from what I've seen, that goal has been met.

A public grand opening celebration is planned for October 16, 2010, before the opening to traffic some time in early November. The bridge part of the Hoover Dam Bypass has been officially named Mike O'Callaghan - Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge.

When the Hoover Dam Bypass opens vehicles will no longer be allowed to drive across Hoover Dam. I assume tourists will still be able to drive the twisting turning steep road to the Hoover Dam parking lots on the Nevada and Arizona sides of the dam and walk out on the dam, take tours and view the exhibits in the Visitor's Center.