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The Hoover Dam Bypass Project

Updated on July 13, 2013

The Colorado River Bridge

Construction of the Colorado River Bridge is advancing with construction of the 1,060 foot twin-rib concrete arch. The Colorado River Bridge is the central portion of the Hoover Dam Bypass Project. Construction on the nearly 2,000 foot long bridge began in late January 2005 and the completion of the entire Hoover Dam Bypass Project is expected in June 2010. When completed, this signature bridge will span the Black Canyon (about 1,600 feet south of the Hoover Dam), connecting the Arizona and Nevada Approach highways nearly 900-feet above the Colorado River. Use the web cam icon at: http://www.hooverdambypass.org/, to see real-time images of construction on the bridge!
Visit the What's New and Construction Activities pages for more details on how this project is advancing.
United States Highway 93 (U.S. 93) has been designated a North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) route. The increasing congestion caused by the switchbacks leading to the Hoover Dam site and the restrictions at the dam crossing have led to the development of the Hoover Bypass Project. The Hoover Dam Bypass Project is a 3.5-mile corridor beginning at approximately milepost 2.2 in Clark County, Nevada and crossing the Colorado River approximately 1,500 feet downstream of the Hoover Dam, then terminating in Mohave County, Arizona near milepost 1.7 on U.S. 93.

A Project Management Team (PMT) was developed to oversee the design and construction of the project. The PMT has representation from each of the major project stakeholders including the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the States of Arizona and Nevada, the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) and the National Park Service (NPS). Central Federal Lands Highway Division (CFLHD) will act in the lead management role for all elements of project procurement, design and construction.

CFLHD awarded a contract to HDR Engineering, Inc. to provide design and construction support services for the Hoover Bypass Project. An integrated team of professionals from HDR Engineering, T.Y. Lin International, Sverdrup Civil, Inc. and several supporting sub consultants make up the consultant team, collectively known as Hoover Support Team.

History of Hoover Dam

Built from 1931 to 1935

The Hoover Dam Bypass Project

The impressive Hoover Dam was created to prevent flooding and to provide irrigation and hydroelectric power to arid regions. Built from 1931 to 1935, its design is concrete arch-gravity construction. At an amazing 726 feet high and 1,244 feet long, the structure required more than 5 million barrels of concrete to build. More than 5,500,000 cubic yards of material were excavated and roughly 45,000,000 pounds of reinforcement steel were used in its construction. Hoover Dam was an enormous undertaking, making it the largest building project of the federal government up to that time in history at a cost of $49 million. Prospective workers flocked the area to seek jobs which they had lost during the Great Depression. Employing over 21,000 men over its construction period, usually less than 5,000 workers at any one time, the population in and around the area grew tremendously. Blistering temperatures, soaring above 115 degrees Fahrenheit, made the project a difficult feat. Sadly, over 100 workers lost their lives during the massive project due to the risks involved.

Hoover Dam concrete

Hoover Dam concrete
Hoover Dam concrete

Hoover Dam up Stream

Hoover Dam up Stream
Hoover Dam up Stream

Hoover Dam Schematic Drawing

Hoover Dam Schematic Drawing
Hoover Dam Schematic Drawing

The History of Hoover Dam 1931 to 1935 - A story of Hard Times and the Making of Hoover Dam

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October 2010 Update

Hoover Dam Bypass Now Open!

Hoover Dam Bypass Now Open!

The Federal Highway Administration, in conjunction with the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) and the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT), officially opened the new segment of US 93, formally known as the Hoover Dam Bypass. Traffic began flowing on Tuesday night, October 19, 2010.

Update on Hoover Dam ByPass

Hallelujah, Kingman is getting an early Christmas present. Dave Zanetell, project manager for the Hoover Dam ByPass Project, had announced a target date of late fall 2010 to open the eagerly awaited bypass that will cut an hour off the travel time between Kingman and Las Vegas. Well, that date has come; and traffic began flowing on Tuesday night, October 19, 2010.

The support-arch for the bridge (named MikeO'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial) is complete and rises approximately 900 feet above the Colorado River. This project has taken almost 20 years from conception to the awaited completion.

The project has seen many delays, but it has finally come to completion! Good news for Kingman.

Update on Hoover Dam ByPass

Update on Hoover Dam ByPass
Update on Hoover Dam ByPass

The Colorado River Bridge

The Colorado River Bridge
The Colorado River Bridge

THE WIDER VIEW: Taking shape, the new bridge at Hoover Dam

Creeping closer inch by inch, 900 feet above the mighty Colorado River, the two side of a $160 million bridge at Hoover Dam slowly takes shape.

The bridge will carry a new section of US Route 93 past the bottleneck of the old road which can be twisting and winding around and across the dam itself.

When complete, it will provide a new link between the states of Nevada and Arizona.

In an incredible feat of engineering, the road will be supported on the two massive concrete arches which jut out of the rock face.

The arches are made up of 53 individual sections each 24 feet long which have been cast on-site and are being lifted into place using an improvised high-wire crane strung between temporary steel pylons.

The arches will eventually measure more than 1,000 feet across. At the moment, the structure looks like a traditional suspension bridge. But once the arches are complete, the suspending cables on each side will be removed.

Extra vertical columns will then be installed on the arches to carry the road. The bridge has become known as the Hoover Dam bypass, although it is officially called the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, after a former governor of Nevada and an American Football player from Arizona who joined the US Army and was killed in Afghanistan.

Work on the bridge started in 2005 and should finish next year. An estimated 17,000 cars and trucks will cross it every day.

The dam was started in 1931 and used enough concrete to build a road from New York to San Francisco.

The stretch of water it created, Lake Mead, is 110 miles long and took six years to fill.

The original road was opened at the same time as the famous dam in 1936.

An extra note: The top of the white band of rock in Lake Mead is the old waterline prior to the drought and development in the Las Vegas area. It is over 100 feet above the current water level.

Spectacular: The new Hoover Dam bypass

THE WIDER VIEW: Taking shape, the new bridge at Hoover Dam

Creeping closer... inch by inch, 900ft above the mighty Colorado River, the two sides of a $160million bridge at the Hoover Dam in America slowly take shape.

The bridge will carry a new section of US Route 93 past the bottleneck of the old road which can be seen twisting and winding around and across the dam itself.

When complete, it will provide a new link between the states of Nevada and Arizona. In an incredible feat of engineering, the road will be supported on the two massive concrete arches which jut out of the rock face.

The arches are made up of 53 individual sections, each 24ft long, which have been cast on-site and are being lifted into place using an improvised high-wire crane, strung between temporary steel pylons.

The arches will eventually measure more than 1,000ft across. At the moment, the structure looks like a traditional suspension bridge. But once the arches are complete, the suspending cables on each side will be removed.

Extra vertical columns will then be installed on the arches to carry the road. The bridge has become known as the Hoover Dam bypass, although it is officially called the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, after a former governor of Nevada and an American Football player from Arizona who joined the US Army and was killed in Afghanistan.

Work on the bridge started in 2005 and should finish next year. An estimated 17,000 cars and trucks will cross it every day.

The dam was started in 1931 and used enough concrete to build a road from New York to San Francisco. The stretch of water it created, Lake Mead, is 110 miles long and took six years to fill. The original road was opened at the same time as the famous dam in 1936.

Colorado River Bridge Project

Progressing Across the Canyon

The joint venture contractor building the River Bridge, Obayashi Corporation and PSM Construction USA, Inc., is advancing construction of the 1,060 foot twin-rib concrete arch. The JV completed the design, fabrication and erection of the new highline system in January 2008. The system was developed specifically for this site and project requirements. Re-establishing the cableway system was a critical milestone to complete the project. Recently, the Contractor completed construction of steel tub girders and deck on the approach spans, and cast the first several segments at the end of each arch using a traveling form system. Upcoming work includes erecting two precast, segmental temporary towers at the ends of the approach span decks to anchor the cable support system for continued arch construction. Construction of the arch is expected to take approximately 14 months with completion scheduled in September 2009. Once the arch is complete and self-supporting, the cables and tower will be removed, and columns, pier caps and deck structure will be built on top of the arch completing the roadway.

Hoover Dam Finished Twin-rib Concrete Arch

Hoover Dam Finished Twin-rib Concrete Arch
Hoover Dam Finished Twin-rib Concrete Arch

Hoover Dam Finished Arch

Hoover Dam Finished Arch
Hoover Dam Finished Arch

Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge

Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge
Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge

The Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge

The Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge
The Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge

Hoover Dam Bypass Project

Hoover Dam Bypass Project
Hoover Dam Bypass Project

YouTube - New Hoover Dam Bridge (July 2009)

Construction of the Colorado River Bridge is advancing with construction of the 1,060 foot twin-rib concrete arch. The Colorado River Bridge is the central portion of the Hoover Dam Bypass Project. Construction on the nearly 2,000 foot long bridge began in late January 2005 and the completion of the entire Hoover Dam Bypass Project is expected in June 2010. When completed, this signature bridge will span the Black Canyon (about 1,600 feet south of the Hoover Dam), connecting the Arizona and Nevada Approach highways nearly 900-feet above the Colorado River. Use the web cam icon at: http://www.hooverdambypass.org/, to see real-time images of construction on the bridge!

Here's What's Happening On the Job

The Paving Contract is Complete

The fourth phase of the Hoover Dam Bypass project is complete. The interim surfacing project was awarded to Las Vegas Paving Corporation in December 2007 was completed in June 2008. The project includes asphalt paving and guardrail on approximately 75% of the approach project length. Completion of the project minimizes the amount of remaining work to be done after the River Bridge is completed. The final project to open the bypass will include the short sections of remaining roadway tie-ins to the River Bridge and U.S. 93, as well as signing, striping, barrier, and pedestrian facilities on the entire bypass.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) awarded a $7 million surfacing project to Las Vegas Paving Corporation of Las Vegas Nevada in December 2007. The paving project includes over 60,000 tons aggregate base, 45,000 tons hot asphalt concrete pavement and nearly 18,000 lineal feet of guardrail. The project is complete.

This project was accelerated in order to finalize paving and guardrail throughout a majority of the Bypass Approach roadways and take advantage of current construction materials prices and minimize any future increases that may result from delays associated with the contractor's crane collapse that occurred during construction of the River Bridge. Advancing this roadway surfacing project ensured continued progress on the Bypass and minimized the remaining work to be done after the River Bridge is completed - with the ultimate goal of expediting the final opening of the Bypass.

Once the River Bridge nears completion, a final contract will be awarded to pave the short sections of remaining roadway and the roadway tie-ins at U.S. 93, as well as complete final signing, striping, barrier, and pedestrian facilities. It is estimated that this final contract will cost approximately $8 million and will be advertised in late 2009. The total cost to complete the Hoover Dam Bypass remains unchanged at $240 million and is consistent with the original 2001 estimate.

The construction contract for the Colorado River Bridge, was awarded to the joint venture partnership of Obayashi Corporation and PSM Construction USA, Inc., in October of 2004 for $114M. Construction began in early 2005 and is expected to be completed in 2010. When completed, the 2,000 foot-long Colorado River Bridge will span the Black Canyon (about 1,600 feet south of the Hoover Dam), connecting the Arizona and Nevada Approach highways nearly 900-feet above the Colorado River. The construction requirements and challenges are as difficult as any in the world.

As of November 2008, the joint venture contractor has completed over $78M worth of construction. Major milestone work complete includes the abutments, approach columns, girders and deck, and arch skewback footings. A number of the arch segments have been cast using a temporary form traveler system. The contractor has established a new cableway system developed specifically for this project and site. The cable crane system spanning the canyon delivers materials and equipment used in constructing the bridge. Other completed work includes the precast segments for the bridge columns which will support the roadway on the arch. The arch is now almost 40% complete, and on track for closure in the third quarter of 2009.

Upcoming work will include continued of the cast-in-place concrete arch over the Colorado River. Completion of the arch requires construction of temporary stay towers which will support the arch until it is closed in the middle. This is scheduled for September 2009.

Another milestone in the construction of the Hoover Dam Bypass

$30.1 million $ roadway improvement

Another milestone in the construction of the Hoover Dam Bypass was completion of phase two, the Nevada Approach project in November 2005. Edward Kraemer & Sons, Inc., the contractor for the Nevada Approach project, completed this $30.1 million roadway improvement from Nevada U.S. 93 to the new Colorado River Bridge crossing nearly two months ahead of schedule.

Construction of the Nevada Approach, began in October 2003, and within its short 24-month duration, the contractor constructed 2.11 miles of new four-lane highway alignment including six new bridges, a new traffic interchange at U.S. 93 near the Hacienda Casino, retaining walls, wildlife crossings, and a 1.6 mile extension of the River Mountain River Loop hiking trail. To accomplish this feat, the contractor moved over 1.5 million cubic yards of blasted rock material, placed 2.8 million pounds of reinforcing steel, and poured over 12,000 cubic yards of structural concrete.

Phase One of the Bypass was finished in December 2004. Completion of the Sugarloaf Mountain Bridge signified the end of construction on the Arizona Approach project. The project involved building a connection between U.S. 93 and the Colorado River Bridge. Major components of the $21.5 million project include nearly two miles of four-lane roadway, a 900-foot bridge on the east side of Sugarloaf Mountain, a new traffic interchange at U.S. 93 and Kingman Wash Road, wildlife crossings, trail access parking, improved drainage and rock staining. The joint venture contractor, R. E. Monks Construction and Vastco Inc, were responsible for construction activities on the Arizona Approach. The project was completed on time.

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    • kathysart profile image

      kathysart 5 years ago

      Isn't it amazing? Ohh yes

    • ltraider profile image

      ltraider 6 years ago

      Great photos of the project.

    • LikinTrikin LM profile image

      LikinTrikin LM 6 years ago

      Great job. I've visited the area several times during the construction of the bridge, looking forward to my next trip to get to drive on it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Thumbs up!

      Great lens... very informative. Thanks for the good read.

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    • profile image

      Hawkbacker 7 years ago

      Some cool shots. Love the architecture of the Hoover Dam Bypass. It should make Hoover Dam an even more visited destination.

    • Cop-Speak profile image
      Author

      Smitty 7 years ago from Arizona

      @Obscure_Treasures: The Bridge should be finished by November. That will be an awesome sight.

    • profile image

      Obscure_Treasures 7 years ago

      Very informative

    • Occitania profile image

      Occitania 7 years ago

      Impressive ! And it is really cool to see. I also enjoyed the video! Amazing place.

    • profile image

      Sojourn 8 years ago

      Driving to Vegas is a regular event for us from our home in Phoenix and we've been anticipating this project completion date for years. We love to see the progress that's been made every time we drive through. There are only so many times you can see the dam and after that you just want a way to get around it! Nicely written lens. :)

    • WindyWintersHubs profile image

      WindyWintersHubs 8 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

      Neat Lens. Thank for the great info. I haven't been there in over 10 years. Money well spent.:)

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 8 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      Nice lens! We've been through there twice since construction began, and it's quite a feat to watch. The last time we went over the dam was about a month ago, and we stopped for a while to look at the bridge (and the dam, but mostly the bridge this time). It's really cool to see, and I just learned a lot more about it by reading your lens. Thanks!