Las Vegas Sun

November 23, 2014

Currently: 50° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Officials reach milestone on Hoover Dam bypass

Image

Leila Navidi

Tourists walk on the sidewalk along the Hoover Dam, with construction of the dam bypass bridge seen in the background Friday, Feb. 26, 2010.

Blasting on U.S. 93 near Hoover Dam is complete, marking a major milestone in the widening of 15 miles of the highway in Arizona and the construction of the Hoover Dam bypass bridge.

The Arizona Department of Transportation said construction crews performed 38 blasts using more than 172 tons of explosives, causing traffic delays since September on the main highway connecting Las Vegas and Phoenix.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their patience as they traveled this stretch of highway over the last few months,” Arizona District Engineer Mike Kondelis said in a statement.

Work continues on the bridges, overlooks, a trailhead and wildlife crossings as Arizona creates a four-lane divided highway, expected to open later this year when the bypass bridge is complete.

Nevada has also widened part of U.S. 93 on its side of the dam in preparation for the bridge opening.

The bypass is expected to save a significant amount of travel time. A 6.3-mile trip that now averages nearly 17 minutes will be cut to 5.5 miles that can be traveled in six minutes, at 55 mph.

Travel times along that stretch — often congested with tourist traffic — can be more than 30 minutes.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, some traffic has been banned on the dam for security reasons. Before the Sept. 11 attack, semi-trailer trucks were about 18 percent of the traffic on the road. Since then, more than 2,100 trucks per day are being detoured 23 miles through Laughlin.

Those trucks are expected to return to U.S. 93 once the bridge opens.

The improvements to U.S. 93 also have increased interest in the possibility of building a new interstate route to connect Las Vegas and Phoenix.

Motorists traveling to Arizona from Las Vegas can get project updates by calling 1-888-887-0565 or visiting www.az511.gov.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

No trusted comments have been posted.