Hoover Dam - Boulder City, NV

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After several years of attending conventions in Las Vegas, my wife and I finally made it out to see the Hoover Dam.  By the map and, now, by experience, it is a fairly easy 40 minute drive, but nevertheless we had our Garmin to tell us our left from right.

Interestingly, on its setting of the fastest route, the Garmin took us through the Lake Meade Recreational Area.  This was a number of miles shorter than passing through Boulder City, but it also necessitated a contribution of $5 to the park.  Accident?  I think not... (Insert conspiracy theory here).

The most notable aspect of this "shortcut" was comparing the visible (barren, by Eastern standards) topography to the map view as seen on the Garmin.  Whoever programmed the Garmin did a fine job of showing blue areas along the roads indicating where... all the water used to be.  I can only imagine how nice a recreational area this was before their current water difficulties.  There was water access, but all the shallow areas on the west side of the Park were dry.

The scale of the Hoover Dam is tremendous, of course, the color tones of the Colorado Hoover Dam 1River were amazingly blue, and the human achievement in engineering and sheer labor are obvious. 

 

The dam tour attendants proudly indicate that the Dam can power 1 million homes and has paid for its own Dam construction and Dam upkeep, as well as the cost of operating the Dam tourist attraction aspects.  Yes, Dam jokes were fielded aplenty.  But, ultimately, the tourist focus is what made the visit disappointing.  The tours are necessarily limited as far as Dam access, and the crowds were sizable though not oppressive.  Still, there's very much of a "get 'em in,  get 'em out" pace to the tour, and I learned far more by watching the TV special.  Hoover Dam Discharge Side 5-29-09After having seen ample pictures and a PBS/Discovery special on the making of the Dam, it was both what I expected and definitely anti-climactic. 

Currently, a new bridge is being built slightly to the south of the dam so that traffic between Arizona and Nevada are not forced through the congested (by cars and pedestrians) two way road on top of the Dam or, more recently, by the required vehicle security inspection points. 

Hoover Dam Bridge Bypass Progress 5-29-09

The bypass bridge will ultimately be an unremarkable flat span supported by curved arches, but I suppose that is intentional as to not draw attention from its older neighbor.  All the suspension work and towers will be removed when it is completed.  I've added more pictures and commentary to Flickr for those that are interested.

1 comment :

  1. I checked out your Flickr album and thoroughly enjoyed them. I live in Carson City and this was the first time I've seen pictures of that new bridge. Thanks!

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