Hoover Dam bypass speedup urged

| 10/5/2001

A Nevada state transportation official is urging construction of a new truck crossing over the Colorado River to replace Hoover Dam be accelerated. New security restrictions at the dam are requiring trucks to be rerouted.

The proposed new crossing, about a mile down river from Hoover Dam, is scheduled to be complete in 2007. According to the Las Vegas Sun, Transportation Director Tom Stephens told the state Transportation Board he would like to see it finished and dedicated on Sept. 30, 2005, which would be the 70th anniversary of the dedication of the dam by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.Security at the dam has been increased since the Sept. 11 attacks in New York City and Washington, DC. Only local trucks with permits are allowed on the dam. The others are sent to Laughlin, which adds more than 20 miles to the trip.

It would cost more to accelerate the construction schedule, but Stephens told the newspaper it would be worth the effort. He pointed out the dam could be shut down at any time because of security concerns.Arizona and Nevada want the federal government to put up about $200 million to help build the new crossing. Both states have already set aside at least $10 million.