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

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.

Presented by

Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman

You don't have to tell her how big she is. You don't need to touch her belly.

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

Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman

You don't have to tell her how big she is. You don't need to touch her belly.

Video

Maine's Underground Street Art

"Graffiti is the farthest thing from anarchy."

Video

The Joy of Running in a Beautiful Place

A love letter to California's Marin Headlands

Video

'I Didn't Even Know What I Was Going Through'

A 17-year-old describes his struggles with depression.

Video

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

Video

The Farmer Who Won't Quit

A filmmaker returns to his hometown to profile the patriarch of a family farm

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

More in Technology

Just In