Thursday, June 5, 2014

Walking Across the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge


There's a new equally impressive engineering wonder crossing Black Canyon.  For years, the Hoover Dam was Numero Uno in this neck of the woods, but this gorgeous arch bridge, which was finished in 2010, is now close competition for the grand prize.  It's exactly what the designers intended.  They wanted to combine design aesthetics with efficient structural engineering that equaled the grandeur of the Hoover Dam.  I think they succeeded.  The bridge is a beauty.

A scary beauty, though.  I wasn't sure I could walk across all 2000 feet (and 900 feet up) in the strong wind that day.  But once I started walking, the views were so awesome, I kept on going.  I walked from Nevada, into Arizona, and back again.  That being said, this massive steel and concrete superstructure did sway whenever a semi roared past so walking it is not for the faint-hearted.

Its official name is the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, but no one calls it that; it's way too complicated.  Most people call it the "River Bridge" or the "Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge".  It spans the Colorado River at Black Canyon and is part of U.S. 93.  The guidebooks are beginning to call it the most dramatic U.S. highway crossing state lines in the nation.  I'll vouch for that.  Dramatic.  Scary.  Breathtaking.

But next time, I'll stay in my car and drive across!

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