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Decades in the making: New Laughlin-Bullhead City bridge set to open this summer

Updated April 22, 2024 - 7:29 pm

A new connection between Laughlin and Bullhead City, Arizona — decades in the making — is nearing completion.

The $60.6 million bridge connecting the two cities over the Colorado River is scheduled to open to traffic on June 7, Clark County announced last week. Construction on the bridge began in 2021, but funding for the project was first committed in the 1990s, according to the county.

“The location has been defined many years ago and the environmental work had been done many years ago. We’re now at a point for both emergency preparedness, we need the alternative bridge, but also for the economic future of that area,” Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Funding for the bridge was provided by the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, $34.1 million; the federal government, $20.9 million; Bullhead City, $4.5 million; and Clark County, $1 million.

The bridge will offer a new connection between the Nevada and Arizona sides of the Colorado River, with the Laughlin Bridge, which opened in 1987, located 8 miles from the new bridge. A third, privately maintained bridge 6 miles south of the new bridge isn’t dependable for emergency needs, Naft noted.

The 724-foot-long bridge sits 35 feet above the river and will feature one lane of traffic in each direction and a multiuse trail on the south side for bicyclists, runners and pedestrians.

“This bridge is wider, carries more traffic, but it also, at least on the Nevada side, is an area that is currently undeveloped, away from the Casino Drive area and the resort corridor,” Naft said.

Two overlooks on the bridge are located on the multiuse trail, and if future traffic volume warrants it, the bridge can be restriped to accommodate four lanes of traffic and the multiuse trail.

“What we’re particularly excited about is that it’s for everybody, not just for those who are commuting by car,” Naft said. “But also for people who want to enjoy what is really one of the most incredible recreation opportunities that we have in Clark County and take advantage of all of what the Colorado River has to offer. The views and the sightlines, that’s a pretty exciting element of this bridge, too.”

A 3.5-mile road was also constructed on the Nevada side, connecting with Needles Highway just north of the Fort Mojave Indian Reservation. Bullhead Parkway was extended by a half-mile to the bridge on the Arizona side and was completed in October 2020. More than 1,400 bushes were planted along the bridge roadways.

“We look forward to a great celebration and years of improved transportation between Laughlin and Bullhead City,” Bullhead City Mayor Steve D’Amico said in a statement.

Naft hopes that in the future the bridge location away from the more populated area of Laughlin could spur further development in the area.

“The potential is absolutely there for development on both sides of the river to occur because of this bridge,” Naft said. “I think it also provides additional access to people who live in Laughlin who depend on the resources on the Arizona side of the border. It makes living on both sides of the river a lot easier.”

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on X. Send questions and comments to roadwarrior@reviewjournal.com.

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