A funding delay, a cableway collapse and a death: Construction of the Hoover Dam Bypass is a challenge-filled saga that rivals the building of the historic dam itself. But the light at the end of the canyon is beckoning. North America’s longest single-arch concrete crossing, at 1,960 ft, now soars 88 ft over the Colorado River and is scheduled to open to traffic in November 2010. It will carry vehicles 1,500 ft downstream from Hoover Dam, spanning the Black Canyon at the borders of Nevada and Arizona and answering a need that dates back to the 1960s.
In August, construction reached a major milestone as crews connected the bridge’s center arch and removed supporting cables. The $240-million project is managed by the Federal Highway Administration’s Central Lands Highway Division, which took over after the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation withdrew in 1993. The project then was placed on hold in 1995 but resumed two years later. It was the first delay, but not the last.