After more than a decade of studies and planning, work could begin next year on a bridge that will cross the Colorado River, connecting Bullhead City, Arizona with the town of Laughlin, Nevada.
The $58 million project will ultimately replace an existing bridge that officials in both localities say is outdated and too small for today’s traffic.
That bridge was built in the mid-1980s at a cost of $3.5 million.
Residents in Bullhead City, which has a population of around 40,200, frequently cross the existing bridge for work in Laughlin’s booming casino industry.
Residents in the smaller Laughlin, with a population of just over 7,500, travel to Bullhead City for its retail and healthcare offerings.
Although it is nearly six miles from Bullhead City to Laughlin, the new four-lane bridge will span roughly 3 miles and could take up to two years to build.
The project has been necessarily complicated because it has required the involvement of transportation experts from both states, as well as the approval of Bullhead City and Laughlin officials.
Meanwhile, the estimated cost of the project, partly due to the need for expanded infrastructure at both ends of the bridge, has risen from an estimated $30 million more than a decade ago, to $40 million in 2015, and now $58 million.
With a recent vote by the Bullhead City Council approving $4.5 million for the project, along with $33 million coming from a combination of the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada and Clark County, the project is expected to have a two-year construction schedule.
By Garry Boulard