More of the history of the building of America. It is amazing how our country has grown.
As the Great Depression unfolded, a decision was made to tame the Colorado River by creating a dam. Laborers descended on Las Vegas, setting IP camps in the desert for a chance to work on the project. The hired workers moved to Boulder, six miles from the construction site. And for that reason, the dam was called the Boulder Dam until years later, renamed the Hoover Dam.
Wages for the workers ranged from .50 to 1.25 per hour.
The contract was awarded in March 1931 to a group of six construction companies that had pooled their resources to meet the five million performance bond.
The first step was blasting the canyon walls to create four diversion tunnels to hold the water. The workers in the tunnels toiled at 140 degrees, all the time choking on carbon monoxide and never-ending dust. Because of the stifling conditions, a six-day strike occurred in August 1931.
The second step was to clear the cliff walls. The workers scaling the walls were called the high scalers as they worked suspended 800 feet above while wielding 44-pound jackhammers and metal poles, knocking loose materials off.
The dry riverbed now allowed the power plant's construction to begin. Cement was mixed on site and hoisted across the canyon in a 20-ton bucket reaching the crews every 78 seconds. The concrete needed to be cooled, so 600 miles of pipe loops were embedded to circulate water through the poured blocks as workers sprayed the concrete to keep it moist.
The total concrete used was five million barrels of cement with 45 million pounds of reinforced steel. Over six million tons of concrete was used, and that amount could pave a road from San Francisco to New York City.
Lake Mead is the largest manmade reservoir in the United States, supplying water to twenty-five million people across seven states, tribal land, and northern Mexico. Several things contribute to the lake's declining water level. Climate change, severe drought, and a decrease in melting snow are some of the elements.
Since 1983, the water level in Lake Mead has dropped 170 feet, and if it gets below 895 feet, it could become a dead pool. The devastation to millions relying on it for drinking water and irrigation. Real estate values would plummet, and recreational facilities would suffer along with visitors creating an economic disaster.
Researchers and scientists say conditions are drier now than in the last 1200 years, and the water level has never been lower. As of July 2022, the water level has revealed a mass of hidden things, including garbage, boats, tires, and even human skeletons.
It is believed the Hoover Dam could last for 10,000 years, but if humans were no longer around, the turbines would shut down within two years shut down with power no longer generating.
In 2005, a bypass bridge was constructed 1500 feet downstream of the dam to eliminate traffic on the dam. It took five years to complete construction, making it the highest and longest single-span concrete arch bridge in the Western Hemisphere. The bridge is 1900 feet long, spans 1060 feet, and is 886 feet tall. The construction used five million cubic yards of concrete and 16 million pounds of steel. it was completed with a budget of 240million dollars. The bridge reduced congestion for millions of motorists providing safer and faster travel on U.S. 93. If winds reach 50 mph, trucks, RVs, campers, and busses will not be allowed to cross and forced to use a detour.
Notes of Hoover Dam
Hoover Dam is such a magnificent, ironic monument showing incredible engineering with workers' skill and determination to leave suck a landmark.
It is incredible that on such a huge project with danger all around, the death rate was kept low, with 138 workers that died. A father and son were of that number, with John Gregory Tierney dying December 20, 1921, and his son Patrick W. Tierney died December 20, 1935, on the exact same day his father died some 14 years later.