Hoover Dam security a priority says Hull

Arizona Governor Jane Hull Thursday told city and county officials that Hoover Dam security remains a high federal and state priority in the wake of the Sept.

11 terrorist attacks on the East Coast.

"I do not know when truck and trailer traffic will be allowed on the dam," she said at a Thursday morning meeting held at the Kingman Airport.

The number of governmental jurisdictions involved, other dams on the Colorado River and area highway traffic all complicate the coordination of security of Hoover Dam, Hull said.

The U.

S.

Bureau of Reclamation controls the dam and Lake Mead Federal Recreation Area.

The Arizona portion of highway U.S.

93 ends several miles from the dam at the beginning of the recreation area.

"Arizona Public Service and county deputies manned checkpoints outside the recreation area," Mohave County Board of Supervisors Chairman Pete Byers told the governor.

Byers, of supervisorial district 1 represents the Kingman area on the board

Coordination of dam security remains a communication and coordination problem between Arizona, Nevada, local authorities and federal agencies, particularly the Bureau of Reclamation.

"I cannot tell you when normal traffic will return to Hoover Dam.

I know it is costly for the 1,500 truckers who would normally cross Hoover Dam," Hull said.

"My staff is in contact with the Bureau of Reclamation and U.S.

Transportation Secretary (Norman) Mineta."

The governor expressed concern for the area economy and the extra cost of trucks traveling through Bullhead City to Las Vegas.

County Manager Ron Walker told the governor that the extra traffic bypassing the dam, added to traffic from Needles to Las Vegas, created hazardous travel conditions.

Hoover Dam is open to passenger cars with checkpoints at the edge of the Lake Mead Recreation Area on the Arizona and Nevada sides of the Colorado River.

Parking lots and the parking garage are open, but the visitor center is closed, according to Byers.

Hull said the terrorist attacks underline the urgency of completing a new bridge over the Colorado River to bypass Hoover Dam.

The appointment of Arizona Department of Transportation Director Mary Peters to head the Federal Highway System could speed the completion of the bridge, Hull said.

A coordinated operations center to increase preparedness at Hoover Dam, Palo Verde Nuclear Plant near Phoenix and the people of Arizona was announced by Hull Sept.

25.

The operations center will coordinate and supervise efforts to assure domestic preparedness and prevent terrorist incidents.

The Department of Public Safety will coordinate information between all levels of government, including federal, state, county and local law enforcement agencies.

"I want to assure the citizens of Arizona that assertive steps are being taken to deter further terrorist attacks within the United States," Hull said.

She expects to call up some National Guard members to provide security at airports in Phoenix and Tucson at the request of President George W.

Bush.

The nation's 20 largest airports will have extra security supervised by the federal government.

Citizens are asked to cooperate with the domestic preparedness team and use the hotline at (602)223-2680.

Hull said her Internet site is updated daily and citizens are encouraged to use it for information.

The web site is www.governor.state.az.us.