After walking on the longest twin-rib concrete arch bridge in North America, Albert Corwin gave his thumbs-up. "Wonderful, wonderful!" he exclaimed after Sunday's Hoover Dam Bypass Tour hosted by The Concrete Producer and Concrete Construction magazines.
This was the first trip to Hoover Dam for Corwin, a retired concrete inspector from Los Angeles who also is a regular attendee at World of Concrete. "I like concrete," he added.
The first stop on the tour was the pedestrian walkway of the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. Here, attendees walked across the 1060-foot-long span 900 feet above the Colorado River to get a spectacular view of the Hoover Dam just upriver. Also here, they learned more about the bridge's construction and about the two men for whom the bridge is named.
The two magazines have hosted tours since construction of the bridge started five years ago. The bridge was dedicated in October 2010, almost exactly 75 years after President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated Hoover Dam, just 1500 feet away.
Then, it was on to the Hoover Dam Visitors Center, where concrete historian Luke Snell gave a presentation on the fascinating concrete aspects of the dam's construction, which was completed in 1935.
The dam is composed of 3 million cubic yards of concrete; record placement rates of 10,000 cubic yards per day were achieved. Seventy-five years after its construction, this concrete marvel continues to supply power to several surrounding areas without missing a beat. Snell attributes its long-lasting success to "excellent quality control."
"Hoover Dam really changed the whole way we do concrete construction," Snell said. "For you and I as concrete people, we are on sacred ground."
As a testament to how concrete construction has improved since the 1930s, Snell noted that only one person died during the construction of the nearby bridge, compared to 96 on the dam, not including heat-related deaths. The next stop on the tour was hundreds of feet below the surface to see the power plant turbines which generate electricity. Then it was on to the outside viewing area where everyone got awe-inspiring views of both concrete beauties.
For more information on the construction of Hoover Dam, a CD is on sale at the World of Concrete Bookstore. Also, very limited space is still available for Friday's tour, which leaves the Las Vegas Convention Center at 1 p.m.