A bridge that allows drivers to bypass Hoover Dam’s many security checkpoints and tourists will open after nearly eight years and £151M worth of work.
The 579m construction, which contains 7,250t of steel, 22,937m³ of concrete and 609,600 metres of cable, is expected to slash travel time along the main route between Las Vegas, Nevada, and Phoenix, Arizona.
Traffic jams will be a thing of the past when the bridge officially opens next week as motorists will no longer have to make their way across the dam’s winding two-lane road at a snail’s pace.
US transportation secretary Ray LaHood accompanied a delegation of government officials, including Arizona governor Jan Brewer and US Senate majority leader Harry Reid of Nevada, in voicing their excitement about the completion of the project, which was also hailed as a crucial example of work being done to update America’s infrastructure.
LaHood revealed the bypass was one of 15,000 transportation projects that included updating 6,437km of road across the country.
The bridge is named after former Nevada governor Mike O’Callaghan and Pat Tillman, the former NFL American football player who quit the Arizona Cardinals to join the Army Rangers and died under friendly fire while serving in Afghanistan.
Family members of O’Callaghan and Tillman watched the dedication ceremony along with hundreds of building workers and their families.
People took photos and walked along the bridge before the ceremony, many taking long pauses to stare at the 75-year-old Hoover Dam below – itself regarded as an engineering marvel.
It took five years and 21,000 workers to build the dam, costing £104M. The last of its more than five million barrels of cement was poured in 1935.