It's no secret that I have been a fan of the Hoover Dam Bypass since October 2010, when I helped dedicate the Mike O'Callaghan - Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, part of the bypass project.
At the dedication, I said that the bridge "reaffirms the powerful idea that Americans can still build great things not just in spite of enormous economic challenge, but as the means of overcoming it."
From left to right: Pat Natale, executive director ASCE; Hiro Onozaki, River Bridge Joint Venture;
David Zanetell, project manager FHWA; David Goodyear, engineer of record, T.Y. Lin Intl.;
William Dowd, project director, HDR Engineering; Andrew Herrmann, ASCE president.
Now, nearly 18 months later, the magnificent achievement of the bypass has been acknowledged by the American Society of Civil Engineers, which--in a ceremony last Thursday--awarded the Hoover Dam Bypass Project its “Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement” honor.
And no one could be prouder of our Federal Highway Administration for this top recognition than I am. Led by Administrator Victor Mendez and David Zanetell, FHWA Project Manager for the Bypass, the agency worked hard to ensure that the outcome of this project would be as monumental as the landscape it inhabits between Nevada and Arizona.
Judging by the terrific reception the Hoover Dam Bypass has received--the "OCEA" award is not its first honor--I'd say they accomplished that goal.
Now, that's a lot of heavy lifting, and all of those materials don't come together to form a magnificent bridge all by themselves. In addition to the FHWA team, the ASCE also acknowledged Hiro Onozaki of the River Bridge Joint Venture, David Goodyear, the Engineer of Record for T.Y. Lin Internationl, and Project Director William Dowd of HDR Engineering.
We don't undertake big projects lightly, but where the need exists--and congestion on the former crossing was infamous among commercial truck drivers as well as area residents--we must be able to make the investments necessary to keep our economy moving.
As Administrator Mendez said, “Our country can’t afford not to invest in large infrastructure projects. Big projects like this are needed now more than ever, not only for job creation in the short term, but for long-lasting economic recovery.”
In solving the problems of the clogged Hoover Dam crossing, we have demonstrated once again our ability to tackle a complex challenge with American ingenuity and dedication. We can still dream big; we can still roll up our sleeves and make this nation’s infrastructure the envy of the world.
But, to make that possibility a reality, we need Congress to pass a bipartisan transportation bill that allows us to help state DOTs solve the challenges that limit our ability to move goods and people safely and efficiently where they need to go.
By passing a bipartisan bill, the Senate has done its part; now, President Obama has called for the House to do the same.