Sunday, May 19, 2013

Two Marvels in the Desert

On our recent trip to Las Vegas, we drove out to the Hoover Dam.  We wanted to see the remarkable Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge which has opened since our last visit out there.  A pedestrian walk alongside the span hovers high above the Colorado River and gives the perfect vantage point for amazing views of the dam.

The O'Callaghan-Tillman bridge is a bypass for U.S. Route 93 which previously crossed the top of the Hoover Dam.  Traffic back-ups were common.  After the 9-11 attacks, there were serious concerns about security at the dam and plans for the bypass were expedited.

You can still drive over the dam, but the only place the road takes you is the parking areas for visitors. 

Once I'd taken pictures from the bridge, we drove to the dam for a closer look.

The dam was dedicated in 1935.  The era of the 30s is evident in the art deco architecture of Gordon B. Kaufmann.  The clocks on the intake towers show the time in the two states that share the dam.  Since Arizona doesn't observe daylight saving time, the time on the clocks is the same for much of the year even though Nevada and Arizona are in different time zones.

Lake Mead stretches out on one side of the dam.

An inlet near the intake towers if full of fish.

Now the view of the O'Callaghan-Tillman bridge, a composite steel and concrete arch bridge.  What a spectacular sight!

The Hoover Dam is its awe-inspiring equal.

These marvels in the desert are engineering feats to be celebrated. 

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