Trusted local news leader for Kingman, Arizona & Mohave County
Wed, Feb. 19

The Heart of Oatman resides in one of it's residents

The Bureau was concerned that the water and power infrastructures located at Davis Dam are potential targets for terrorist activities.

The road over the dam was open to automobile traffic but not to vehicles any larger because of barriers commonly used by the Arizona Department of Transportation to divert traffic during improvements to state highways.

The dam will remain open to pedestrian traffic.

Now that Davis Dam is closed to traffic, Laughlin Bridge is the only bridge that connects Arizona to Laughlin in close proximity to Laughlin casinos.

It is also the route truck drivers use since the Sept.

11, 2001, terrorist attacks dictated tightened security.

Trucks have been re-routed around Hoover Dam since that time.

Mohave County Manager Ron Walker said the county is in the process of drafting a resolution lending its support to the efforts of building a second bridge.The preliminary draft is the first step of many that will be taken, he said.

The closure of traffic over the dam means, should something happen to the Laughlin Bridge, four miles south of Davis Dam, vehicles traveling from the Arizona side would have no way to get to Laughlin other than to travel 19 miles through Bullhead to the "Avi" Bridge, built by Fort Mojave American Indians as an avenue to reach the Avi Casino on the Nevada side of the river.

Walker said a second bridge is needed near the Laughlin Bridge because an accident on the Laughlin Bridge could result in a closure of the bridge, causing inconvenience and long-term economic hardships.

"About 50,000 cars a day travel that bridge," Walker said.

"If an 18-wheeler has an accident that causes structural damage to the bridge, those vehicles have no choice now but to go to the Avi Bridge."

Mike Conner, executive director of the Bullhead Area Chamber of Commerce, said he has heard that 30 percent of Laughlin employees live in Kingman.

"An accident on the Laughlin Bridge would cause those people to be an hour of two late for work," Conner said.

He said several locations for a second bridge have been considered, including Riverview Drive, in the middle of "downtown" Bullhead City.

Walker said traffic across the Laughlin Bridge has increased because of the rerouting of Hoover Dam truck traffic.

At least six accidents have occurred on the Laughlin Bridge and adjoining intersections within the last 19 months, resulting in closure of the bridge for six-hour intervals at least three times since Sept.

11, according to the preliminary resolution.

The resolution also addressed the commercial impacts of bridge closures.

Approximately 4.5 million visitors a year travel to the Laughlin area, with 98 percent arriving by automobile.

The preliminary resolution states that the total infrastructure and economic impact of a six-hour closure of the Laughlin Bridge due to an accident would result in $200,000 in lost wages, commerce and fuel costs for each such closure.

Conner said Bureau of Reclamation officials were asked to lend their support in asking the federal government for funds for a new bridge, but were turned down.

"When the federal government forces closure they should help you with efforts to make adjustments," Conner said.

He said if he had his way, no big trucks would travel through Bullhead City, but would be re-routed to I-40, and then I-95 north near Needles to get to Las Vegas instead of traveling to Bullhead City, then over the Laughlin Bridge to Highway 95.

OATMAN – Decades of hard work pays off Saturday for one woman whose fortitude culminates in a ceremony recognizing an Oatman building's entrance into the National Register of Historic Places.

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