19 April 2009


Minimal? at Hoover Dam

I have to be honest: I had no idea Hoover Dam was so close to Las Vegas. It's less than a half hour away (depending on traffic).

There's a $30 tour and a $11 tour. The $11 tour was fine, you get to go 500 feet inside the dam and walk around in some of the tunnels.

What's really interesting (and scary) is how much Lake Mead has dropped. See the white band just above the water line? That's where the water level used to be.

Hoover Dam water level has dropped significantly

If you can't tell from the photo, the water has dropped about fifty feet. Keep in mind that lake meed is 120 miles long and has 550 miles of shore line. It's HUGE. This is not like Lake Oswego losing 50 feet of water.


Today you can drive across the top of the dam. Pretty soon (2010?) there will be a bridge across from the damn. Here's a photo taken from the top of Hoover Dam of the new bridge (see below).

The road across the top of the dam is only two lanes wide. Semi-trucks can't go across it so they have to use a bi-pass, and in the summer - there's a three hour wait for people who want to drive over the bridge.

new bridge at Hoover Dam

The new bridge will make it easier to see the damn and make it safer. Allowing anyone to drive across the top of the damn is kind of a security risk. Even though the new bridge may make it easier to skip the visitors center, I think it's worth sticking your head in. They do a good job of explaining how hydro-electric power works and there's some nice art deco.


Anonymous said...

Lake Mead is at 1965 levels. You peeps in the Southwest US are DOOMED!

- The M.A.D. Hapa said...

You ain't kiddin'!

riverdeer said...

hi minimal! i am without pertinent comment.