October 20, 2010 - 9:36 am
Motorists traveling between Arizona and Nevada now find themselves being whisked across the Colorado River via the O’Callaghan-Tillman bypass bridge, which allows drivers to avoid the more dangerous and time-consuming switchbacks near Hoover Dam.
The 1,900-foot-long bridge opened to traffic late Tuesday night without fanfare.
The visitors parking lot and pathway across the bridge remained fenced off Wednesday as workers appeared to be putting the finishing touches on the parking area and pathway up to the bridge.
Officials connected to the project said it was not clear when the attraction would open, but estimated it wouldn’t be until next week.
The walkway, which stretches across the entire length of the bridge, offers a stunning view of the dam 1,500 feet upstream.
Motorists who travel across the bridge have no view because of 54-inch-tall concrete barriers.
Truckers, who have been taking a detour through Laughlin since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, once again shared the road with passenger vehicles Wednesday morning.
Because of security concerns, buses and tractor-trailers were prohibited from crossing Hoover Dam.
Visitors who wish to head to Hoover Dam from the Nevada side will now take an exit less than a half-mile from the Hacienda hotel-casino and turn left at the end of the offramp. That road leads to the old highway. The security checkpoint still exists at the same location.
The parking lot to the bridge walkway is less than a mile from the security area. Motorists visiting the dam can continue on down to the visitors center.
Vehicles are still allowed to travel on the dam to the parking spaces on the Arizona side, however, the road no longer goes past that area.
Contact reporter Adrienne Packer at [email protected] journal.com or 702-387-2904.