Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hoover Dam Bypass

Mr. Cactus and I travel frequently between Southern Utah and Arizona.
We rather enjoy the relaxing drive and scenic desert along the way.
Previously, our number one frustration was the traffic jams and delays we experienced as we drove across Hoover Dam.
U.S. Highway 93 is the main route between the two heavily populated cities of Las Vegas and Phoenix.
Since 9/11 each car was required to go through security checks, and the traffic stopped for every pedestrian walking across the road.
Popular tourist site= a lot of stopped cars=a lot of "dam traffic" jokes.
Now that the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge is complete, it's clean sailin' between Nevada and Arizona.
I think it takes maybe a minute now to zip across the bridge.

There is a 1.3 mile sidewalk along the north side of the bridge we have been anxious to trek across.
We arrived late afternoon, just as the sun cast shadows of the spectacular arch across the dam.
Viewing the 900 foot drop to the Colorado river below made my heart go pitter patter, but at the same time I marveled at this man made wonder.
This is now the 7th highest bridge in the world.
The walkway has plaques with statistics to read along the way.
The bridge's construction employed 21,000 workers, and took 8 years to build at a cost of $240 million.
The arch is 1,060 feet across, making it the longest arch in the Western Hemisphere.
Imagine the amount of cement required to build 300 foot pillars.
As you travel across the bridge you not only move from state to state, but also change time zones.
Watching the various phases of construction over the years has been impressive.

Cars are still allowed across Hoover dam, but the road is blocked soon after you cross. If you want to travel to Arizona, you must use the bridge.
We figure we have cut off anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 hour in our previous commute.
No traffic jams= happy travelers.

13 comments:

Material Mary said...

Wow, that is an impressive bridge. Glad it shaved off an hour of your commute.
Mary

badlandsquilts said...

Wow, great photos... I think my parents drove accross it this week. Very different from when we toured the dam 15 years ago.

Ann & Roger said...

Great pictures, you should be a tour guide.
Ann

Julia said...

Wow Amazing..great pics Nedra..So high up!
Our Sydney Harbour bridge was built starting from both sides and meeting up in the centre..
Julia ♥

Jan Marie said...

Whoa, I think my hear would stop not go pitter patter faster. That is one high long bridge. Glad it helps your travel.

Jackie said...

I love going to the Hoover Dam and we also have had many Dam jokes too! Took the Dam tour, was fun! I have been watching the progress of the bridge and was glad to see it open, but I don't know that I would be brave enough to walk across. Just a little too high for me. I am slightly saddened that the road acrosse the dam is closed. It is too bad that they didn't keep that open.

Mary Grace McNamara said...

Great pictures Nedra! Thanks for sharing!

MGM

Sherri said...

What a great post...I can't wait to get over and see it! My son has a game in Boulder City soon, and we're planning on going early to see the bridge!

Shannon said...

I am wondering why the bridge was built so close to the dam? The shadow of the bridge on the dam is weird. I am glad that it will make things smoother to travel back and forth. Like you said some people just want to travel and not visit the dam each time. I love to learn about how things were built so that is an amazing feet of engineering.

Amy Dayton said...

Mom! I am so proud of you for overcoming your fear of heights and taking such amazing photos!! I get the tailbone tingle just looking at them :)

Jane's Fabrics and Quilts said...

Wow!! That is amazing!! I would rather walk over it than drive! and I have no idea why LOL!!!

Calamity Jane's Cottage, Bonnie said...

Nedra, many years ago we went across the Dam before 9/11. It's hard to imagine how it's changed. Beautiful new bridge.

Carol said...

WOWSER! That is amazing!