Concrete work at Lake Mead resumes after windy day

Strong winds halted work Tuesday on a new water intake pipe at Lake Mead, but workers were able to return to their floating job site after a nine-hour delay.

A crew of about 15 people was in the midst of a continuous, eight-day concrete pour when winds gusted to 60 mph or more on the lake Tuesday afternoon, sending waves crashing over the platform.

Bronson Mack, spokesman for the Southern Nevada Water Authority, said the job was shut down from about noon until 9 p.m. because conditions on the lake had become treacherous for the barges ferrying concrete trucks to the platform two miles from shore.

"It was just too risky," Mack said. "They just battened down the hatches, let it pass and got back to work."

General contractor Vegas Tunnel Constructors is piping 12,000 cubic yards of concrete -- enough for the foundations of about 450 average homes -- to the bottom of Lake Mead to secure an intake structure 350 feet below the surface.

When the project is finished in early 2014, the $800 million intake will be able to draw from the bottom of the lake and keep water flowing to the Las Vegas Valley even if the reservoir shrinks below the community's two existing straws.

Mack said Tuesday's weather will delay the completion of the continuous concrete pour, but it won't affect the quality of the finished product because the mix from Mesquite-based Precision Aggregate takes about 30 hours to set.