Transportation Department releasing $6 million for dam bypass
WASHINGTON — A project to move traffic off the Hoover Dam to reduce the risk of terrorist attacks is expected to get another $6 million infusion this week, Sen. Jon Kyl said Tuesday.
To date, the federal government has committed $86 million to build the Hoover Dam Bypass, expected to cost $234 million. A total of $126 million has been raised for the project.
Work started on the project in February. The three-mile corridor with a steel-and-concrete bridge spanning the Colorado River downstream from the dam is expected to be completed in 2007.
“This is another step toward realizing our commitment to the Hoover Dam bypass,” Kyl said in a statement. “The bypass is not only a national-security priority, its construction is essential to easing congestion in the area and helping Arizona businesses transport their goods.”
Because Hoover Dam is a prime terrorist target, U.S. Highway 93 remains the only major highway in the nation with strict traffic restrictions.
Congestion has also been a concern. Highway officials also have said that the dam was not meant to handle the amount of tourist and commercial traffic that travels the corridor from Arizona into Nevada. The highway, completed in 1935, has become a main route from Las Vegas to Phoenix and it carries more than 6 million vehicles a year across the dam.
Large trucks and buses have to take a 23-mile detour around the dam. That has sent heavy trucks rumbling along steep, narrow, two-lane roads, creating a safety threat and nuisance for local residents.
The money, to be released Wednesday, is part of an $11.5 million authorization that Kyl added to the 2003 transportation spending bill.
On the Net:
Hoover Dam Bypass: http://www.hooverdambypass.org