The federal project to construct a bridge on US 93 over the Hoover Dam was a historic engineering accomplishment. Just as challenging for Arizona, however, was improving the highway’s approach to the new bridge to move traffic quickly and safely, all while respecting critical environmental considerations.
The success of the Arizona Department of Transportation’s work to improve a 15-mile stretch of US 93 leading to the new Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge has led to recognition from the Arizona Chapter of the American Public Works Association as the project of the year in transportation in the $25 to $75 million category.
ADOT continues to make progress on its long-term vision to transform US 93 into a four-lane divided highway from Wickenburg in Maricopa County to Nevada. This $71.3-million project is another element of this plan. To date, Arizona has invested more than $500 million to improve US 93 – and additional improvements are planned.
For the project receiving recognition, ADOT launched construction in January 2009. The work added two new lanes between mileposts 2 and 17 along US 93, and opened to the public prior to Thanksgiving last year. This project was the final piece to widening US 93 into a four-lane divided highway from Interstate 40 in Kingman to the new Hoover Dam Bypass.
The timing of the widening of US 93 in this environmentally unique terrain situated between the Colorado River and the Black Mountains was critical due to the impending completion of the Hoover Dam Bypass immediately north of the project limits. Once the bridge was complete, commercial trucks could again travel the corridor after being rerouted due to security concerns after September 11, 2001.
The project, which was completed on budget and on schedule in less than two years, included more than 3.5 million cubic yards of excavation, 183,000 tons of asphalt, 20,000 cubic yards of structural concrete, 2.9 million pounds of reinforced steel and more than 22 miles of guardrail.
“Completing a job of this size in such a compressed time frame is remarkable,” said Kingman District Engineer Mike Kondelis. “ADOT continues an aggressive campaign to upgrade the US 93 corridor through northwestern Arizona. These improvements to US 93 will provide a faster and safer drive for travelers throughout the region.”
Another hurdle for ADOT was the need to protect or enhance the biological, historical, physical and recreational resources in the area. The project was located primarily within the Lake Mead National Recreation Area and home to the largest contiguous herd of desert bighorn sheep in the United States. In collaboration with the Arizona Game and Fish Department and the Federal Highway Administration, three wildlife overpasses, the first of their kind in Arizona and the lower 48 states, were built to protect motorists and provide a safe crossing for the desert bighorn sheep.
US 93 is a highly traveled route for those heading from Phoenix to Las Vegas, the two largest U.S. cities not connected by an interstate highway, and for commercial truck traffic. US 93 is also part of the CANAMEX Trade Corridor, a high priority route that connects Mexico to Canada.
For more information about this project, please visit http://www.us93corridor.com