A new bridge is set to be constructed linking Laughlin and Bullhead City, Arizona, across the Colorado River.
The Clark County Commission Tuesday approved the lowest submitted bid of $52.4 million from contractor Fisher Sand and Gravel Co. to build the five-span, 724-foot long bridge.
Nearly $26 million of the project’s cost will come from the Regional Transportation Commission. Another $20.9 million will come from the federal government, earmarked in 2005 by then Sen. Harry Reid, $4.5 million from Bullhead City and $1.1 million from Clark County.
The project includes adding a 3 1/2 mile, two-lane approach roadway in Nevada from the Needles Highway to the Colorado River Bridge and a 0.2 mile approach roadway in Arizona from the western end of the Bullhead Parkway to the Colorado River Bridge.
Construction is slated to begin by year’s end and work crews have 730 days to complete the project, according to the bid agreement.
The new bridge will take some of the traffic volume off the existing four-lane bridge that connects Highways 95 and 68 in Arizona with Highway 163 in Nevada, according to the Associated Press. That bridge was completed in 1987 and has since seen over 600 million people travel across it.
Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft said the bridge will benefit both sides of the river as many residents in Nevada and Arizona frequent the other side.
“I think Laughlin benefits from it from both a transportation perspective, but also from a safety perspective,” said Naft, who represents District A, which includes Laughlin. “It’s impractical to be so reliant on one bridge in the event of an emergency. As it is, if you have an accident on the bridge it creates an enormous backlog.
“I think having the second access point to the south is really a life, health, safety and a practical and pragmatic transportation element that’s really critical.”
Naft also noted that a lot of Arizona residents work at the Laughlin resorts while many Laughlin residents travel to Bullhead City for shopping and other amenities.
Bullhead City Mayor T0m Brady said the bridge will be big deal for the city with a population of just over 40,000 people, agreeing with Naft that the new bridge will be an asset to people in both states.
“I envision that it will help promote future growth on both sides of the river — both business and residential growth,” Brady said. “And immediately, it will improve the delivery of essential services, emergency services and it will help alleviate traffic congestion through Bullhead City.”
With conversations about adding the bridge having started two decades ago, Brady said it’s been a long time coming.
“Twenty years ago the need was identified and now, with over 30,000 vehicles traveling on Highway 95 through Bullhead City every day, the need is becoming more urgent,” he said. “Both Bullhead City and Laughlin are growing at a tremendous pace and this bridge will create a circular loop connecting both of our communities.”