Hoover Dam bypass bridge gets warm welcome at dedication

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By Kyle Hansen, LasVegasSun
Published Thursday, Oct. 14, 2010 | 2:11 p.m.
Updated Thursday, Oct. 14, 2010 | 4:14 p.m.

Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge Dedication
Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge Dedication

The dedication ceremony Thursday of the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge brought together states and cultures.

The bridge is the centerpiece of the Hoover Dam bypass, joining Nevada and Arizona with a quicker and safer route for U.S. 93 between Las Vegas and Phoenix.

The dedication featured both states, with an honor guard from Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, the national anthem sung by students from Kingman, Ariz., and politicians from both states praising the structure.

The event also incorporated representatives of the native people who once lived on the land and used the Colorado River where the dam and bridge now stand. A spiritual leader from the Southern Paiute Tribe in Nevada offered a blessing and members of tribes from Nevada and Arizona took turns dancing on the new bridge.

The project was a group effort under the direction of the Federal Highway Administration along with the Arizona Department of Transportation; the Nevada Department of Transportation; the Bureau of Reclamation, which oversees the Hoover Dam; the National Park Service, which runs the Lake Mead National Recreation Area; and the Western Area Power Administration, which runs the power transmission lines that go to the dam.

“The bridge shows what we can achieve when we set aside individual agendas and work toward a partnership,” said Victor Mendez, the federal highway administrator. “I hope that serves as a model for the future.”

Work on the $240 million bypass project began in 2003. The bridge itself cost $114 million and is 1,900-feet long. It includes the longest concrete arch in the Western Hemisphere and is believed to be the second-highest bridge in the nation, at 890 feet above the Colorado River. Read more from The LasVegasSun.Com…

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