Hoover Dam

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This page last updated on 04/13/2017
(Fig. 01)
Directions: The dam is located 36 miles southeast of Las Vegas. From the Stratosphere Casino head northeast on Las Vegas Blvd about 3 miles and bear right to merge onto US-515/93/95 south towards Boulder City. Follow US-93/95 for 20 miles and turn left to stay on US-93 South. Go 5 miles and take the NV-172 exit, EXIT 2, toward HOOVER DAM and travel 3 miles to the dam. The parking garage is open from 8:00 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. Parking fee: is $7.00. This beautiful four story garage is carved into the side of the cliff. Designed to meld into the surrounding cliff, the collage in (Fig. 02) below shows some of its 1940’s art-deco features.
2015-Hoover DAm Parking Garage
(Fig. 02)
General Description: Hoover Dam, once known as Boulder Dam, is a concrete arch-gravity dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, on the border between Nevada and Arizona. It was constructed between 1931 and 1936 during the Great Depression and was dedicated on September 30, 1935, by President Franklin Roosevelt. Its construction cost over one hundred lives. At the time, it was the largest concrete structure ever built and some of the techniques were unproven. Hoover Dam impounds Lake Mead, and is located near Boulder City, Nevada, a municipality originally constructed for workers on the construction project, about 25 miles southeast of Las Vegas, Nevada. The dam's generators provide power for public and private utilities in Nevada, Arizona, and California. A major tourist attraction; it is visited by nearly a million people each year. The heavily traveled U.S. 93 ran along the dam's crest until October 2010, when the Hoover Dam Bypass opened in 2010. See … Mike O'Callaghan - Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge.
Special Attraction or Points of Interest: There are two guided Hoover Dam Tours that range from 30 minutes to an hour and cost between $11-$30 dollars. The guided Powerplant Tour is the most popular and takes about 30 minutes, while the Dam Tour is about one hour. The Mike O'Callaghan - Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge walk is free and is reachable from a separate parking lot located before you reach the dam. You can walk up to the new by-pass bridge, walk through an outside display area and onto a walkway the transverses the entire length of the eastern side of the bridge. Mike O'Callaghan - Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. Taking in the Dam and Powerplant Tour, the Visitor Center Presentations and Exhibits, and walking the Street Level Displays and Exhibits, one should plan a minimum of four to five hours.
09/18/2015 Trip Notes: Today I visited the Dam with my brother Tom. Even though this was about my seventh visit to the Dam, I had never put together detailed page on the Hoover Dam. In the creation of this page, I used pictures from all of my previous visits. Today we took both the Dam Tour and the Power Plant Tour. After leaving the garage, we crossed the street and took the stairs down to the Visitor Center, down below street level to the security checkpoint/ticketing area. While waiting for our tour we took the elevators in the center of the building up to the Visitor Center Exhibit Gallery. This gallery houses numerous audio, visual and interactive exhibits, including a full-scale model of the huge buckets used to move concrete for Hoover Dam construction, a walk-though model of a generator, and a detailed diorama of the dam and an interactive exhibit for managing power generation and conserving energy (Fig. 03). We then went out on the Observation Deck. This area provided panoramic views of Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, the Colorado River, the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge and other features (Figs. 04-06). Continued below.
2015 Visitor Center
(Fig. 03)
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Trip Notes (Con’t): When it was time for our tour, we reentered the Visitor Center and down to the theater, where we viewed a 10-minute film describing the contributions of Hoover Dam to the developing West, and the massive construction effort behind its engineering marvel. After exiting the Theater, we took an 70-second elevator ride 530 feet down through the rock wall of Black Canyon to the Hoover Dam Powerplant. We exited the elevator into a tunnel (Fig. 07) that was drilled in the 1930's for construction, and took a short walk to the Penstock Viewing Platform (Fig. 08). This location is atop one (of four) of the huge 30-foot-diameter pipes that can transport nearly 90,000 gallons of water each second from Lake Mead to the dam's hydroelectric generators. An animated display, with the help of our tour (Fig. 09), helped describe the complexities of the construction of the dam, and how it presently operates. From here, a quick elevator ride up to the Nevada powerplant balcony takes you to a panoramic view of the 650-foot-long Nevada wing of the powerplant and eight of the dam's 17 huge generators (Fig. 10). Continued below.
(Fig. 07)
(Fig. 08)
(Fig. 09)
(Fig. 10)
Trip Notes (Con’t):  From here we navigated through tunnels to explore rarely seen areas of the dam itself. We viewed some of the inspection markings written on the walls from decades past. Then down a long tunnel (Fig. 11) to peek out of one of the two air vents located on the downstream face of the dam (Fig. 12).  We the explored further to see a fascinating set of stairs reaching into the dark depths of the dam's mass of concrete (Fig. 13), and other tunnels that wind their way throughout the structure, Including an emergency set of 550 stairs to the top of the dam (Fig. 14). At the end of the tour, another elevator ride exited us on the top of the dam (Fig. 15). After "topside" we walked around taking several picture around the area (Fig. 16).
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2015 Misc Dam Pics
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Slideshow Description: The slideshow above contains 80 pictures of the dam and tour that were taken during my various visits.