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Old 01-05-2011, 05:39 PM   #1
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The nightmare Boulder Dam bridge

A couple weeks ago my wife and I went to Los Vegas to visit family. We drove our trusty Jeep and left the coach in Cave Creek. We came in across the new bridge, this time without any road construction so heading north was a snap. I noticed a long line of southbound traffic at a crawl or completely stopped. The line of traffic was backed up from the Gold Strike Casino (just outside Boulder City on your way to the bridge) all the way to the 95 turn off for Laughlin.

We headed back to AZ the next Monday morning early. To my surprise, the traffic situation was the same, if not worse than the previous week. Now the cue started at the Railroad Pass Casino and was virtually stopped, occasionally creeping forward at 5MPH or less. I thought there must be a traffic accident. We kept moving and a half hour later we had traveled about a mile to the 95 off ramp to Laughlin. I made a poor decision to stay in line and still hoped for a fender bender for the tie up.

As we crested a hill we could now see all the way into Boulder City and the double line of traffic was solid all the way in, another 2 or 3 miles. Now my mind was made up, I eased over into the left lane and made our way to the traffic light a mile up the road. Now we had been in line for an hour. At the light I did a "U" turn and beat it back to the 95 turn off and drove down through Laughlin and over to Kingman.

This bridge was constructed for several reasons, safety, security and traffic capacity. What has happened now, everyone is trying to get across the bridge including all of the truck traffic that used the 95 cutoff before. There is still the tourist traffic trying to get to the dam as well, all on the same highway. To slow things up there is a traffic light at the Railroad Pass Casino, then another light 2 miles later, then another traffic light in Boulder City. The speed limit in BC is 35MPH (I believe) for a couple miles.

At the light in Boulder City, you navigate a 90 degree turn. Then, in a half mile, the two lanes going to the bridge narrows down to one lane. Who ever came up with this plan has got to be fired. It is quicker to take the 95 down through Laughlin so keep that in mind if you are travelling this way if you come onto that traffic tie up.
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Old 01-05-2011, 06:26 PM   #2
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The Casino intersection is only one end of the equation. The Kingman end has a similar bottleneck where US93 intersects I40.

see US 93 over the Colorado not like it was - it sure is nice in between the stoplights, though, unless you are looking for vistas of Black Canyon, Hoover Dam, and the new bridge.

It will be interesting to see how long it takes before these bottlenecks are addressed. They really show how nice the new bypass is by contrast.
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Old 01-05-2011, 07:54 PM   #3
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The bridge was not built to address traffic congestion, but rather to eliminate cross traffic on the dam, and greatly reduce the risk of terrorist threat to the dam. I would sure not like sitting in a traffic snarl on the bridge though, I'd have enough stress just driving across while staring straight ahead.
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Old 01-05-2011, 08:48 PM   #4
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The bridge was built for many reasons, it had been in the plans for a long time before 9/11. That is why the AZ part of the effort included much much more than just a bridge access. Follow the link to the Popular Mechanics story.
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Old 01-05-2011, 11:50 PM   #5
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I'll remember to re read this topic before I go that way again.
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Old 01-06-2011, 09:27 AM   #6
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I agree with Vegasdan. A better job should have been done. When you think of all the time, money, engineering, and planning that went into this project, it should have been a no-brainer to have excellant traffic flow.
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:45 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray,IN View Post
The bridge was not built to address traffic congestion, but rather to eliminate cross traffic on the dam, and greatly reduce the risk of terrorist threat to the dam. I would sure not like sitting in a traffic snarl on the bridge though, I'd have enough stress just driving across while staring straight ahead.
The reasons I posted were on the web site that listed these reasons. It was not for "congestion" but for "capacity". I guess the capacity has been reached in spades (that's Vegas talk).
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:46 AM   #8
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The Casino intersection is only one end of the equation. The Kingman end has a similar bottleneck where US93 intersects I40.

see US 93 over the Colorado not like it was - it sure is nice in between the stoplights, though, unless you are looking for vistas of Black Canyon, Hoover Dam, and the new bridge.

It will be interesting to see how long it takes before these bottlenecks are addressed. They really show how nice the new bypass is by contrast.
Bryan, I've never had to wait hours to get through Kingman no matter how much traffic is at the light at I40.
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Old 01-06-2011, 11:07 AM   #9
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As far as driving over the new bridge, you do not see much as the guard "rails" are solid concrete and high enough that there is no view. I would have thought a bypass south around Boulder City from the bridge would have been a solution. It could connect to the 95. I'm no engineer but instead of putting the bridge across just below the dam, wouldn't putting it across down stream a few miles, perhaps in an easier spot and connecting to the 95 have made more sense? Instead they chose a spot to create more of an "attraction" than addressing the traffic flow. This is only going to get worse as developement begins south of the bridge in AZ. Projections of a new city springing up on the AZ side (if this ecconomy ever straightens out) will only create more traffic as folks living on the Az side go back and forth to work in Vegas.
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Old 01-06-2011, 11:09 AM   #10
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I'll remember to re read this topic before I go that way again.
John, keep in mind, what I have seen so far going north from AZ into NV is not a problem. It is only backing up going south.
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Old 01-06-2011, 07:33 PM   #11
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As a police dispatcher, every time a freeway was closed for any reason I'd get "how do I get there" calls... It was amazing.. I had over half a dozen different routes I could take to get to work... But in Detroit, the slang term for freeway is "Ditch" cause the freeways, for the most part, ar dug down like a big ditch (One way to keep the noise from bothering residents) and "Ditch" is kind of a giant RUT, and let me tell you far too many folks get in that rut and don't know how to get out.

Good for the original poster that he knew a different rut to travel.
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Old 01-06-2011, 07:44 PM   #12
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I was through there last weekend for the first time since the new bridge opened. My initial thought was the Nevada casinos funded the entrance from the AZ side.
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. And you can get there easily but don't try and leave!
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Old 02-13-2011, 03:08 PM   #13
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It will be many years before that mess is straightened out.

There, my friends is a non-shovel ready job.

Kerry
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Old 02-13-2011, 04:12 PM   #14
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Another destination bites the dust...
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