If you haven’t been to Hoover Dam connecting Arizona and Nevada lately, it’s changed.
Back in the old days when traveling between Phoenix and Las Vegas you always had to make a twisty, turny drop down to Hoover Dam, cross over it and then take another twisty turny road back up out the other side. It was slow going. The line was often long.
A way around the dam had been needed for decades. After 911, security concerns took center stage. There was fear a truck bomber would try to blow it up. Trucks were permanently forbidden from crossing it. That forced longer routes for truckers.
The Hoover Dam Bypass Project to fix both problems began construction in January 2005 and was opened for public transportation on October 19th, 2010. It is a 2,000 ft long bridge with a connected public skywalk.
It is called the Mike O’Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge.
The bridge was built across Black Canyon just downstream of the dam. The dam itself towers 726 feet above the Colorado River, but the skywalk and bridge tower over the dam. It is supposed to be 900 feet above the river, but seems higher.
Yours truly went down to the dam to poke around. I, of course, got the opportunity to test the new security checks. I was ushered off to the side where scowl-faced homeland security officials opened and scrutinized my containers of equipment, food and underwear.
They seemed genuinely disappointed they didn’t find any explosives.