KINGMAN – The Hoover Dam Bypass remains on schedule for completion by 2008 if federal funding continues.
Arizona and Nevada have agreed to issue up to $50 million each in bonds to finance the $234 million project.
The bonds will be repaid from available federal highway funds according to an agreement between the states and the Federal Highway Administration.
Bridge abutments are being built on each side of the Colorado River, as are the approaches.
"It is because of the cooperation of our stakeholders that we can now begin this landmark portion of the project – constructing the Colorado River Bridge," project manager Dave Zanetell of the Federal Highway Administration said.
Construction of the bridge could begin in November, Zanetell said.
The Arizona approach is 85 percent complete, he added.
That $21.5 million phase of the project includes almost two miles of four-lane highway and a 900-foot bridge on the east side of Sugarloaf Mountain.
The Arizona project includes wildlife crossings, trail access parking, drainage and access to the current roadway to Hoover Dam.
The Nevada approach is 30 percent complete from the bridge abutment to a future interchange near the Hacienda Casino.
The Nevada section has two miles of new roadway, six bridges, retaining walls, wildlife crossings and access parking.
Completion of the Nevada section is anticipated for 2005 at a cost of $30.1 million.
The Colorado River Bridge will be the longest concrete arch in North American, Zanetell said.
It will be 2,000 feet long and soar 890 feet above the river.
The schedule calls for completion of the bridge in late 2007.
Final roadway surfacing will delay travel to some time in 2008.
The first stage of construction involved the removal of 12 towers and two electricity transmission lines.
Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., pushed for speeded-up funding for construction because the Sept.
11, 2001, attacks increased the security risks at Hoover Dam.
Since the attacks, truck and bus traffic has been rerouted through Bullhead City for security reasons.
The Hoover Dam Bypass will eliminate the major bottleneck on the CanaMex Highway linking Mexico with Canada through Arizona and Nevada via Kingman.
"Hoover Dam is a national treasure," said Mary Peters, Federal Highway Administrator and former Arizona Department of Transportation director.
"The bypass will preserve and add to the engineering miracle that is Hoover Dam."
Information, pictures and updates on the bypass are available on the Web at www.hoverdambypass.org.