DAM THE CASINOS...FULL SPEED AHEAD!

...at least until you get near Boulder City, Nevada. I was at my sister's place in Flagstaff, Arizona for part of the Independence Day weekend, that is until I was rudely interrupted by this project. Instead of purchasing and airline ticket for an arm and a leg, driving all of the way back home, and then driving up to Albuquerque, New Mexico to get on a plane to fly to Los Angeles, I just drove. That meant that I was able to do a bit of sightseeing on the way back from Las Vegas to Flagstaff.

Hoover Dam, named for President Herbert Hoover, not J. Edgar, is a bit of a bottleneck for traffic from Las Vegas in the south and east directions. The road is twisty, is only two lanes, and everyone drives slowly to 1) observe the speed limits, of course, and 2) get a good look at everything as they drive through. Large commercial trucks are not even allowed on the dam anymore since the terrorist activities of September 11, 2001. A truck full of explosives going off in the middle of the dam is all we would need. To fix the traffic problem they are building a bridge across the Colorado River south of the dam. As the sign below says, expect some delays for the next few years if you are in the area.

Building the dam started from humble beginnings when construction started in the early 1930's. I just realized that it is going to take longer to build a bridge across the river than it did to build the whole dam. How much you want to bet it is going to cost more too?

US Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation - Lower Colorado Region

Below is a panoramic picture taken from the downstream side of the dam. The dam is obviously the big white thing in the middle of the picture. The parking area for the visitor's center and other shops is on the left. As I recall, this whole visitor's center was a huge, cost over-running, mess of a project when it was being built -- probably like the bridge will be. I did not stop long enough to go in, but it looked plenty expensive from the outside. The six cables cutting across the picture and the tower on the right are part of the cableway crane system that is used to haul stuff (things like 25,000 kilogram/55,000 pound generator parts) into and out of the canyon.

There is quite a bit of dam art in the area. Below is a bronze statue of a high scaler that sits outside the concession facility. High scalers were the men that hung over the edge of the roughly 200 meter tall canyon walls during construction removing loose rock from the face of the canyon walls, and setting dynamite charges for excavation. The statue was erected in 2000. I have heard that this was the first place where hard hats were used. Getting bonked by a couple of falling rocks would have convinced me to wear one.

Some of the dam art is pretty, but a bit esoteric for my tastes. Maybe I just ain't cultured enough. The two statues below were created by Oskar J.W. Hansen, and were called the Winged Figures of the Republic by the artist. The statues, the black base made of polished black diorite rock, and the 43 meter tall flagpole are the monument of dedication that was used when the dam was dedicated on September 30, 1935 by then President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

When you look at the water intake towers today, which feed the water to the generator turbines, you think that they are sitting on the bottom of the canyon, but they are not as can be seen below.

US Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation - Lower Colorado Region

Below is a panoramic picture of the dam backside. In the 1960's I remember the water level of the lake behind the dam being much higher. You can see on the extreme right, where the white and the dark rocks meet, how high the water should be. Darn global warming.



DIRECT LINKS TO PAGES:
URBAN SEISMOLOGY IN THE NAUGHTIES
WARMING UP
FROM THE MOUNTAINS
TO THE PRAIRIES
TO THE OCEANS, WHITE WITH FOAM
MISSED FINISHING BY THAT MUCH
SIN CITY, BABY!!
THE ELECTRICITY BILL FROM HELL
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DAM THE CASINOS...FULL SPEED AHEAD!
THE ROAD HOME

2014-08-03