The Hoover Dam is one of the most popular visitor attractions just outside of Las Vegas; in late 2010, the Hoover Dam Bridge will be completed too. The Hoover Dam, which spans the Arizona-Nevada state line, is situated just 35 miles outside the glitz and glamor of Las Vegas, on the road to the Grand Canyon. It has become part of many road trips from Las Vegas to Phoenix but is also within easy reach of the city for a day trip. However, the Hoover Dam will become a bypass of the main tourist route as completion of the Hoover Dam Bridge draws to a close.
The Hoover Dam Bridge and Bypass
The construction of the Hoover Dam Bridge and Bypass is an extraordinary engineering feat; spanning the width of the Colorado River, the Hoover Dam Bridge has an arch span of 1,060 feet in length, is 1,900 feet long, and stands at a height of 900 feet above the Colorado River. The design and construction budget of the bridge was $240 million. The United States Congress has officially named the Hoover Dam bridge the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge in memory of two local citizens who contributed significantly to public service.
The Hoover Dam Bridge has a sidewalk from which the Hoover Dam can be viewed, a parking lot, and visitor services. The bridge will be the main commercial corridor between Arizona, Nevada, and Utah, replacing the previous route of U.S. 93 over the Hoover Dam. It is expected that the Hoover Dam Bridge will become fully operational by November 2010.
Construction of the Hoover Dam
Construction on the Hoover Dam began in 1930 and was completed in under five years. Named after Herbert Hoover, the 31st President of the United States, the dam has also been called Boulder Canyon Dam and Boulder Dam in the past. Hoover Dam is both a National Historic Landmark and one of the Top 10 Construction Achievements of the 20th Century. It stands over 725 feet above the Colorado River and is the highest concrete dam in the Western Hemisphere. The Hoover Dam is one of the largest hydroelectric power facilities in the United States.
Hoover Dam Tours
Hoover Dam tours began in 1937 and today approximately one million visitors tour the dam each year. It is possible to tour the power plant and/or the dam passageways. Ticket prices and tour lengths vary depending on the tour chosen but adult prices currently range between $8 for admission to the visitor center and $30 for a full tour. Concessions are available for seniors, children, and U.S. Military for the power plant tour. Check with the United States Bureau of Reclamation for tour times, parking, and admission fees.
Visiting the Hoover Dam from Las Vegas
The Hoover Dam is located 35 miles south of Las Vegas on U.S. 93, approximately 8 miles south of Boulder City. The Hoover Dam Bridge is located 1,500 feet south of the Hoover Dam. The busiest time to visit the Hoover Dam is between Memorial Day and Labor Day. It is open every day of the year except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
Access to the Hoover Dam will be restricted to visitors only and all through traffic will use the Hoover Dam Bridge. However, a visit to the Hoover Dam and the Hoover Dam Bridge is a comfortable day trip from Las Vegas or, with time allowed, a worthwhile stop on a road trip to the Grand Canyon.