Crane System to Speed Building of Bypass Bridge

Sat February 23, 2008 - West Edition
CEG



LAS VEGAS (AP) A crane system needed to finish building the Hoover Dam bypass bridge should be up and running in January, a federal official overseeing the project said.

The pulley-type, “high-line” crane system was designed with the bypass project in mind, Dave Zanetell, a Federal Highway Administration engineer, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal for a Jan. 7 report.

Two sets of 280-ft. (85 m) towers collapsed in September 2006 amid high winds in the Colorado River canyon about 30 mi. east of Las Vegas, pushing back the completion date for the 1,905-ft. (580 m) span being built just south of the dam.

The bridge is being designed to carry four lanes of U.S. Highway 93 traffic between Arizona and Nevada, bypassing a winding two-lane road across the dam. The highway is a key route between Las Vegas and Phoenix.

It was originally budgeted to cost $234 million, with a $6 million contingency budget, and to be completed in late 2008. It is now expected to cost the full $240 million and to be completed in 2010 or later.

Primary project contractors Obayashi Corp. and PSM Construction USA Inc., will absorb the cost of rebuilding the crane system, Zanetell said.

In the meantime, work has been progressing with the use of conventional derrick cranes.

Zanetell said a contract was recently awarded for final paving work on approach roads on both sides of the bridge.

Approximately 17,000 cars and trucks are expected to use the new bridge when it is complete. Truck traffic was banned from the dam just after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. That has more than 2,000 trucks detouring via U.S. Highway 95 to a river crossing downriver in Laughlin.

When finished, the Hoover Dam bypass will arch 890 ft. above the river. It is formally called the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, after a former Nevada governor and an Arizona football star-turned-soldier who was killed in Afghanistan.