Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Roosevelt Dam and Bridge

Dedicated to then-President Theodore Roosevelt, the Roosevelt Dam was built from 1906-11. Located in the Salt River northeast of Phoenix, it was designed to help provide irrigation water and control flooding, the dam also generates hydroelectricity. This monumental project was one of the most significant factors contributing to the settlement of central Arizona. Originally at 280 feet in height and 723 feet in length, it  was considered the world's highest masonry dam. Its height was further increased to 357 feet following a massive reconstruction project completed in 1996. During the reconstruction process, the rubble masonry was encased with concrete, completely altering the appearance of the National Historic Landmark. No longer having the aesthetic character of the original dam, withdrawal of its historical landmark status was withdrawn in 1999.
Originally the traffic (Model T's at the time) drove over the top of the dam. Heavier and wider vehicles later necessitated a change.  The recent reconstruction project to the dam included the building of a bridge. Also named after Roosevelt, the bridge, spanning 1,080 feet, is the nation's longest two-lane, single-span, steel-arch bridge. 
The artificial lake formed by the dam was at one time the world's largest artificial reservoir. It felt a bit incongruous to see sailboats surrounded on both banks by desert lands. 

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