Boulder City Bypass and History

Boulder City Btpass history las vegas hoover dam

That stretch of Highway 93 from Railroad Pass Casino to the Hoover Dam Bridge will never look the same again.  I mean that figuratively and literally.

The Las Vegas Review Journal had an article “Boulder City Bypass project protects tortoises.”  A simple read about what is about to happen in phase one of what will hopefully become Interstate Highway 11 from Las Vegas to Phoenix.  That led me to wonder more about the first phase and the project.  And that led me to some interesting reading about the area and what all is out there and why it’s so important to the project and our jobs as tour professionals.

The Electronic Paper Trail

I started with the Goetechnical Report.  I know, a nail-biting title to a page turning book if there ever was one!  Not really, but I digress.  But I was wondering about the roads they were putting in and how it was all going to work.  Also I needed the photo for the post..

The technical part of building a highway in the Mohave is actually pretty fascinating.  The stuff they need to know about what sunder our feet before building a roadway made me understand why when the big earthquake hits, you will find me at the Railroad Pass Casino.  That’s some hard rock up there that ain’t moving!  Not to mention I found out where I can hunt for turquoise.

That all piqued my interest in their real desire to save what is left of Boulder Dam squatters camps mentioned like McKeeversville and the camps around Railroad Pass (as well as the real reason that it is called Railroad Pass).  That jumped me over to the tree hugger’s report.  You know you can ‘t turn a shovel of dirt without filing an impact statement with the Environmental Protection Agency.

Love The Tree Huggers

As much as I hate the EPA and all their paperwork mandates, I do love their attention to detail.  They are like the Mormon Church;  Document Everything.  That meant I needed to read  Affected Environment – A look at the Indian tribes of what is now the bottom of Lake Mead.  It is a historical look at everything from the era before the Indians up to the squatters camps and how they were named and built.  The creating of Boulder City, the Boulder Dam working district.  The creation of Lake Mead National Park (the third most visited National Park) that lead to the mining claim that saved the Hacienda Casino. And what is there now and why.

If you click any of those links, you will see long page numbers.  It’s government, its busy work.  But scan the highlights and you will see some interesting reading material there that will help your tours.

Here are some of the things the reports highlights about the area between Railroad Pass and Hacienda Casino;

  • We have 16 lizard species in that drive
  • There are 18 snake species
  • With over 20 bat species, 11 are on the endangered list
  • Desert Tortoises are popular around Railroad Pass but almost non existent near Lake Mead
  • The first serious discussion of the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge in 1992
  • Willow Beach was considered the popular spot for the bridge
  • Hoover Dam Bypass bridge location was chosen in March of 2001
  • The historic nature of the Los Angeles Switch Yards and power lines

It All Changed One Day

The one thing that was surprising, was how it all changed September 11, 2001.  Reading the reports written pre 911 are completely different from reports written post 911.  We went from projections that were optimistic (we can build it wherever we want)  and sometimes combative (agencies not working together) to one of balanced thought and maybe even a little skepticism.

It goes along with those of us who lived that time.  How Vegas changed and how the tourist changed by that one day.  Just an interesting note I had….