Stop. Bridge’s batch plant lacked permits. (Photo Courtesy of )

Construction on the $234-million Hoover Dam bypass bridge could be delayed for months because of an unlicensed ready-mix concrete supplier. The general contractor, a joint venture of Japanese firm Obayashi Corp. and Brisbane, Calif.-based PSM Construction USA Inc., must hire another supplier or find another batch plant site.

Casino Ready Mix Inc., Las Vegas, operated a batch plant in the nearby Eldorado Valley for over two years without a special-use permit. The location violates a county development moratorium. Clark County officials investigated the site last year and issued an injunction effective June 1, 2005. Yet Casino continued operations and later applied for a permit, which the county denied May 3.

Transporting concrete from further away would cost more money. Concrete from a new source first must undergo analysis and testing, which could take a couple of months, says F. Dave Zanetell, Federal Highway Administration project manager.

Obayashi/PSM won the $114-million contract in October 2004 to build the 1,905-ft-long single-arch bridge downstream from the dam. It will include 20,000 cu yd of high-strength concrete. Two 2,500-ft-long cableways are in place across the 900-ft-deep Black Canyon to begin placing precast segments (ENR 4/17/05 p. 16). The team was on schedule for a June 2008 completion.

Casino officials did not return calls. Obayashi/PSM will move forward with work while exploring its options, says Mike Motil, the teams project manager. He blames county politics for the permitting snafu. Casino, an open-shop firm, has been a target of union efforts.

The International Operating Engineers Union, Local 12, helped reveal the license violations and lobbied commissioners to reject the permit. They didnt have a permit to run that plant, and the general contractor knew that, says William C. Waggoner, Local 12s business manager.