Thursday, March 11, 2010

Boulder City and the Hoover Bypass.

First and most importantly, we headed to the quilt store Fiddlesticks here in Boulder City, Nv.  Loyce had gone long enough without a good fabric shop!  Once we got that out of the way, the sun decided to disappear.

So we decided to drive out to Hoover Dam since it is only 11 miles East of here.  Of course we had to wait in line to be inspected.  Since 9/11 they have inspected every vehicle that travels over the Hoover Dam.  Since Lake Mead provides water for all of the Southwestern states, it simply wouldn’t do to let something happen to this dam.

We finally approached the inspection station, and learned that if we had brought the motor home, we would be directed to the parking lot and thoroughly inspected by agents both inside and out.  And the trailer would have been opened up and inspected as well.  We are mulling over the departure we will make from here.  You just about have to go that way.

Anyway we got up to the guy and he looked me over and I looked old and blonde and fat and and and.   Well he just nodded and we were off.  Guess I’m not the profile he was looking for.

We drove underneath the new bypass bridge that is under construction so all the traffic doesn’t have to drive on the dam, and right over to the other side.  It is amazing how many folks had paid to park and walk all over the top of the dam.  We have not been here since 1978, so we had forgotten all the people.  Or perhaps there were not as many back in those years.

The bypass is to travel at highway speeds and not require any inspection.  Also it will allow trucks and busses which are not allowed now. 


We drove part way up the Arizona side wall and stopped in a parking lot and took this picture.  The actual dam is under the center of the arch.  It is back closer to where the cars are climbing the hairpin curve, behind the big rock wall.

The bypass bridge was began in 2005 and is to be finished this fall. (2010)  There seems to still be a part missing! 


What you can’t see is the center part is just the steel beams without any concrete decking to drive on.  But the massive vertical concrete stanchions are all in place and ready for the road to be assembled.  Also the approach road was in place on the Nevada side completely to the point where it will join the main roadway.  It still needs some finish surfacing, but that would only be a small task in the scheme of things.

I’m not so sure that this bypass bridge isn’t a bigger undertaking the the actual Dam itself.  Since we didn’t pay for parking and walk a mile to get to the Dam on foot, I couldn’t take any pictures of the Dam.  Everyone knows what the Hoover Dam looks like, right?

From there we drove into the Lake Mead National Park.  You have to love those Senior Passes, as we blew right thru the fee station.  The rains and fog settled in on our sight seeing rather quickly as we headed North along the West side of the lake.

You are stuck by the serious lack of water in the lake.  It seems that the water is down about 120 feet since the year 2000.  Currently the lake is only 43 percent full.  Man it looks empty.  We are using the water in our Southwestern cities and farming operations faster than snow is falling in the Rockies.  We have been for the last 10 years.  Some specialists predict that the lake will be empty by the year 2021. 

That would render the Hoover Dam useless.  But at least, we could speed right over the disaster on the big bypass bridge.  Other folks are sure that it will refill again as it always has in the past.  Blind hope?  Another natural resource used up?


The water should be most of the way up to where I am standing to take this picture.  I read that a flooded town from years ago has reappeared, but I do not know where that is.

Some of the things we have seen on our first day here.

Retired Rod


  1. That new bridge is much further along than it was when we saw it during our visit last year. At that time, none of those stanchions were in place - pretty amazing feat. Lake Mead was a big disappointment to us when we saw it because the water level was so extremely low. It didn't look at all like the pictures we had seen that's for sure. It's going to take a lot of rain and snow to ever get it back to the levels it once was - if ever!

  2. Very interesting post and pictures today.


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