Government eases travel restrictions across Hoover Dam

Because of economic impact on tourism and trucking, traffic restrictions across Hoover Dam will be eased beginning today to allow some local commercial vehicles to cross the dam.

The dam links U.S.

Highway 93 in Arizona to Nevada and serves as a major crossing point for commercial vehicles.

Because of security concerns, it has been closed to most truck traffic since the Sept.

11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington D.C..

Commercial tractor-trailers, tanker trucks and all other enclosed trucks will still be diverted away from the dam for another two years, Bureau of Reclamation spokesman Bob Walsh said.

The radius for local firms who conduct business across the dam that will be allowed to have trucks cross the dam will be expanded from 50 miles to 75 miles.

Business owners within the 75-mile radius have to apply for a permit to cross the dam if trucks are open and can be easily inspected.

Permits will be valid during daylight hours.

Commercial passenger buses will be allowed to cross the dam if they are not carrying luggage.

All buses will be inspected at checkpoints.

Recreational vehicles and rental trucks also will be allowed to cross if vehicles and contents can be easily inspected.

"The easing of restrictions on RVs and tour buses crossing the dam is great news for southern Nevada," said Tom Stephens, director of the Nevada Department of Tourism.

If an officer at the dam's checkpoints believes any vehicle is a threat, that vehicle will not be allowed to cross.

Firms doing business within a 50-mile radius have been allowed to cross the dam with a permit during the day since late September.

In October, cars towing boats or small trailers were also allowed to cross the dam.