After a six-month delay, construction is underway on a gateway arch that will welcome visitors to downtown.
The $400,000 arch, which will span the width of Nevada Way at the Buchanan Boulevard/U.S. Highway 93 intersection, was intended to be completed in March as the final piece of the Nevada Way Revitalization project, which improved the street and landscaping.
However, the arch construction was pushed back due to the construction of the CVS/pharmacy on the southeast corner of Nevada Way and Buchanan Boulevard, Public Works Director Scott Hansen said.
“They ended up having to build a retaining wall,” Hansen said. “We were waiting for them to get that retaining wall done and in place … otherwise they would be in there excavating under our footing and we didn’t want that.”
The approximately 20-foot-tall steel and concrete arch will resemble the architecture of the Hoover Dam.
Gazebo-type supports on either end will resemble the dam’s penstock towers, and a center median support will feature an angelic figure resembling the dam’s Winged Figures of the Republic sculptures.
The towers will be connected by a thin steel arch and the words “Historic Downtown.”
An earlier rendering featured the wording “Welcome to Historic Downtown Boulder City” but, according to Hansen, the wording was changed because “Less wordy is much better.”
The sign is being built to attract U.S. Highway 93 travelers into downtown, Hansen said.
“It’s to promote to people that are on the state highway making that decision, ‘Am I going to go into Boulder City and spend some time and shop or dine or whatever, or am I going to continue on the state highway.’ And that’s the whole point, to improve the (business) conditions in our community.”
One of the top priorities of Boulder City’s strategic plan is to create a branded image for the city, Hansen said.
This will be especially important once the Interstate 11 Loop, previously referred to as the Boulder City bypass, routes through traffic around Boulder City altogether. It could be completed as early as 2017.
“Once the bypass is built, are we going to become a ghost town, or are we going to have this branded image that this is the home of Hoover Dam and people are going to want to get off the interstate,” Hansen said.
The arch is being paid for with a portion of the $1.4 million Redevelopment Agency funding the City Council approved for the Nevada Way Revitalization project in 2011.
The city decided to manage the construction of the arch itself, using about six different contractors, a decision that saved the city approximately $200,000, Hansen said.
Hansen estimates the arch will be completed by the end of October.