Following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, officials closed the dam to all vehicles. A day later, passenger vehicles were allowed, but large commercial trucks and RVs were still banned. Last week, officials announced that local businesses could apply for permits allowing their trucks to cross the dam during daylight hours. But officials estimate that fewer than 100 of the more than 1,400 trucks being diverted each day will qualify.
According to the Associated Press, the governors of Nevada and Arizona told U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta in a letter that the $204 million bypass project had taken on "a new security dimension" since the terrorist strikes.
Nevada Department of Transportation Director Tom Stephens believes the planned Hoover Dam bypass bridge could open to traffic in 2005, two years ahead of the current completion date.
The controversial bypass project has been in the planning stages for decades. In March, the Federal Highway Administration announced it would build a four-lane bridge a quarter-mile downstream to take traffic away from the congested and winding two-lane Hwy. 93 across the dam.