Lessons From the Hoover Dam Bypass, One of the Biggest Infrastructure Projects in Years

More

When I visited the Hoover Dam for the first time this past January I was struck by how tiny and insignificant the massive dam looked when compared to the then-new 1,900-foot-long Colorado River Bridge being constructed high above it. Working from either side of the span, two construction teams met in the middle, 900 feet above the water, to finish a bypass that greatly reduces travel time between Arizona and Nevada. More impressively, the bypass was finished on time and on budget. Popular Mechanics put together a short blog post highlighting some lessons from the project, including "new roads are safer roads" and "big projects can leave small footprints."

Nowadays, people expect mega-engineering projects to be over budget--and, often, underwhelming. But the newly opened Hoover Dam Bypass is an example of big-ticket civil engineering done right. The roadway--which spans the Black Canyon 1500 feet south of the dam--provides a more direct route between Arizona and Nevada, cutting travel time by as much as two-thirds. The concrete arch of the Colorado River Bridge--one of nine new bridges--seamlessly complements the iconic Hoover Dam­, and its deck offers pedestrians a new vantage from which to view it. Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez describes the bypass as "a modern engineering marvel." Here's what the rest of the country can learn from the nine-year, $240 million project, which somehow came in on budget.

Read the full story at Popular Mechanics.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to a Seaside Town in Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Where the Wild Things Go

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Adults Need Playtime Too

When was the last time you played your favorite childhood game?

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Technology

Just In