spacerDuring the 1960s, the Bureau of Reclamation took the lead on seeking a solution to the issues surrounding the roadways at Hoover Dam. Pulling together representatives from the Federal Highway Administration and Arizona and Nevada Departments of Transportation, the Bureau of Reclamation conducted meetings that culminated with a proposed site for a new crossing of the Colorado River one mile south of the dam.

In 1989, the Bureau of Reclamation took a major step forward and created the “Colorado River Bridge Project Management Team” (PMT). The focus of the PMT was to perform engineering and environmental studies, to develop funding agreements, and to manage the design and construction of the new crossing. The PMT was made up of the Bureau of Reclamation, the Federal Highway Administration, Arizona and Nevada Departments of Transportation, and the National Park Service. Further environmental studies were conducted including preliminary design and evaluation of nine alternative corridors.

By 1990 the PMT had selected three alternative corridors and a no-build alternative for further study. Other alternatives were eliminated due to the significance of environmental impacts, exceedingly high construction costs, and unsatisfactory conditions for bridge foundations.

Prior to release of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for public review in 1993, the Bureau of Reclamation withdrew from the project as the lead agency. The Bureau of Reclamation’s emphasis changed from construction of major public works projects to more water resource management. With no lead agency or funding to continue the environmental process for a new crossing, the project was officially put on hold in 1995.

In the spring of 1997, the state governors and Members of Congress from Nevada and Arizona appealed to the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to help fund the completion of the environmental studies. A federal appropriation that had been allocated to evaluate the removal of truck traffic from Hoover Dam was approved to resume the studies. The Arizona and Nevada Departments of Transportation agreed to contribute funds to complete the studies. In May 1997, the Federal Highway Administration, Central Federal Lands Highway Division, was named as the lead agency to resume the Hoover Dam Bypass Project.

Federal funding for the final design and construction of the Hoover Dam Bypass is currently being pursued. The design and construction of this project is dependent on special federal highway funding because of the federal ownership of the river crossing. Assuming that funding becomes available and the environmental clearances are obtained, the strong commitment and partnership of all the agencies and the public are expected to carry this project to completion by 2007.

Last Update: 10.16.2001 09:52 AM