Already being called America's newest engineering wonder, the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge at Hoover Dam is scheduled to open this week.
At 890 (271 m) feet above the Colorado River and spanning 1,060 feet (323 m), the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge will become the highest and longest single-span concrete arch bridges in the Western Hemisphere, and the 14th tallest bridge in the world.
"This magnificent bridge is proof positive that America is not afraid to dream big," said Transportation Secy. Ray LaHood at the bridge's dedication ceremony. "The jobs supported by this project are undeniable, and its economic benefits to the American Southwest and the nation as a whole will be felt for generations to come." The project employed more than 1,200 workers, engineers and safety experts.
Under construction since 2002, the four-lane bridge forms the key link of the Hoover Dam Bypass, rerouting traffic for 3.5 miles from the two-lane bottleneck on U.S. 93 across the Hoover Dam. Since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, trucks have been banned from traveling across Hoover Dam adding cost and delay to commercial shipments. The new Hoover Dam bypass and bridge will shorten the route for commercial shippers along this major trade corridor, reduce traffic congestion and provide some magnificent vistas for all who use it.
The bridge is named for former Nevada Governor and World War II hero Mike O'Callaghan and Pat Tillman, who left a successful career as an NFL football player to join the U.S. Army. Tillman was killed in a friendly fire incident during a 2004 battle in Afghanistan. He was 27 at the time of his death.