One Of The World’s Craziest Projects: The Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge. Your Thoughts?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Hoover Dam

I don’t give much merit to email forwards, who does? But a friend of mine recently sent a bunch of pictures of the Hoover Dam. As the pictures slowly opened, one by one, I was taken aback. These pictures were not only of the dam, but of the colossal bypass bridge that is under construction at the site. I had no idea this was even a thought.  I had a number of reactions I’d like to share with you.

  1. Wow. It’s a wonder of modern engineering, and could/should be an attraction itself (comments here make it seem to be already).
  2. Seriously? It further ruins the natural integrity of the canyon and obstructs any view of the dam.
  3. “Rubberneck Highway.” I can’t imagine this will be one of the more safer bridges in the country (although precautions have been made).
  4. Really? How necessary was this project?
  5. Beautiful. The smooth lines of the arch spanning the beautiful Colorado River is, like the dam itself, a beautiful piece of concrete artwork.
  6. Bungee!

We’d like to hear your reactions to the project. Where among the spectrum I experienced, do you fall (I’m settling into #5, I think)? Weigh in with your comments below.

A little background.

Construction began in 2005 and should be completed in 2010. The bridge, less than one half kilometer from the dam, is now about 85% complete and figures say the cost is at about 78 million dollars (just over 20 million for the highway, apart from the bridge). On August 27, 2009 the concrete arch became free standing, joining the two sides together. The official name of the bridge is the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge and some recent, fairly stunning, pictures you can find right here.

  • G Vance

    Well I side with 1 and 5. We travel US93 2 or 3 times a year and try to plan the crossing of Hoover dam to avoid the heavy traffic times. On one occasion it took over 2 hours to to go 20 miles. As an engineer, this is a marvel and adds to the view of the grand canyon.

  • Do you think in 5 thousand years, people will flock to this site to see the mindblowing ancient relics of civilizations passed? Akin to the flood lit Parthenon? That's an interesting thought.

    Matt- how about the squirrel suit?
    Hal- America's obsession with all things convienent, I suppose.
    Alex- I'll be watching the news, and if anything goes awry…

  • I agree with all of your sentiments, Mr. Wick…Although I side with #2 and #4 the most. I also prupose a #7: Monkeywrenching opportunities galore! Ed Abbey and Dave Foreman are probably tweaking about the possibilities! (it is a beautiful bridge, but I hold a special distaste for the Hoover in my heart; and I can't help but associate the bridge with it's company)

  • Yeah this thing is crazy. I have to go with #1, and probably a dash of #6. I mean, the dam's already there, and where else would you want to bungee?

  • Sweet photo. I think I'm stuck on #4, though.

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