Wednesday, November 3, 2010

One Honkin' Big Bridge!

It's finished! Opening ceremonies were held October 16, 2010 and the bridge was officially opened to traffic on October 19, 2010. So of course, being only 130 miles away, it would be a shame not to go see it, drive over it, photograph it.

U.S. 93 is a four-lane highway from Kingman AZ all the way up to near the Hoover Dam. Construction of the bridge creates a fast route to Las Vegas, eliminating the two lane stretch of road and bottle-neck as it passes over the dam itself. Guess when the dam was built in 1935 and U.S. 93 was routed over it, traffic was quite a bit thinner than it has become today.

They're still finishing up the 4-lane sections of the straight stretch leading up to the bridge from the south, but Boy! what a difference it makes!

The bridge deck is very ordinary...4 lanes, 2 in each direction, with high concrete walls on the edges, which block any chance of a view and keep traffic moving. Signs warn drivers not to stop on the bridge.

Access to the visitor center is gained by taking the first exit after crossing the bridge from the south, so I took that exit and followed the original US 93 roadway down to the dam and visiter center. Along this stretch they've built a small parking lot and a switch-back pedestrian path up to the bridge where there's a pedestrian walkway which affords an apparently excellent view of the dam and Lake Mead beyond.

I pulled into the parking lot but immediately became trapped in a line of cars waiting for parking spots to open up. It was a no-win situation since, as I sat there, halfway 'round the parking loop, spots were opening up behind me and folks arriving long after I had were zipping right into those recently vacated spots. I said to hell with that view and fought my way out of this no-win situation to continue on down the roadway to the parking garage at the dam.

Lots of photos later, I got back in the car and drove back up to a viewpoint turnout which gave a good view of the lake north and west of the dam.

Worth the trip, to see this very recently opened bridge, get some photos.

I spied a funky little spot on U.S. 93 on my way up, so decided to stop there on my way back to Havasu to have a late lunch. Sort of a biker spot, and nothing special as far as the food was concerned but it did look interesting from the outside.

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