The Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge is an aech bridge that spans the Colorado River on US93 between Arizona and Nevada. Opened in 2010, it bypasses traffic from crossing the Hoover Dam – a route that use to take an hour or more of switchbacks down to the dam and then up the other side. It also keeps access to the dam restricted from possible attack. The proposed Interstate 11 (I-11) would include this bridge on it’s route.
The dam is jointly named for Mike O’Callaghan, Nevada’s Governor from 1971 to 1979 and Pat Tillman, a former NFL football player who gave up his multimillion dollar career to join the US Army.
Officials have known since the 1960s that the Hoover Dam route was dangerous and precarious and could never handle the expected traffic as Las Vegas was already starting to show signs of strong population growth. Finally in 2001, Federal Highway Administration selected a route which crossed high above and about 1500 feet down stream of the dam. Construction started in 2005 and was finished in 2010. It was slowed by a construction crane collapse that halted work for about 2 years. No injuries or fatalities occurred because of this accident. Although one worker was killed on one other accident.
There is a pedestrian walkway for people to view the dam from a high above advantage point. Because of the shape and other features – car traffic can not see the dam from the roadway – they would rather people focus on driving not looking over the side of the bridge. Although designed to prevent suicides, people have still managed to do so. Officials are always looking at ways to increase security and safety.
Some specifics on the bridge:
1) The 1st concrete-steel composite arch bridge built in the United States
2) Widest Concrete arch in the Western Hemisphere
3) Second highest bridge in the United States at 900 feet above the Colorado river
4) World’s highest concrete arch bridge