Hoover Dam was not an official part of the SIA Fall Tour, but we had to drive right over it to get to the event, so we stopped and took a dam tour, asked questions of our dam tour guide, and took dam pictures. Heh, I’m mature.
Looking down Hoover Dam from either side, you can begin to appreciate the size of this engineering marvel.
There are gatehouses on either side to let excess water bypass the dam to prevent damage during wet years. I believe these have not been opened since 1984.
Throughout the site, there were several information placards…
…as well as artwork and drawings of the dam.
On the dam tour, we were able to see the turbines. I think there were eight total, but typically only six in use at a time, if I remember correctly.
To move the turbines for repair or maintenance, there was a large overhead crane:
The lighting was not terribly great inside, so I only took one picture of a water tunnel. As you can see, it is really dark:
I also took a picture of the insulator stacks on some of the power lines. As an undergraduate, we had to try to sort out some problems with developing our own high tension electrical porcelain. Just these pieces are quite complex to design. In this case, they are glazed blue and brown to try to blend in with the surroundings; it makes them harder to see, and thus harder to shoot.
At the time, I didn’t appreciate how unique of an experience this was- we drove across the dam. Today, there is a bypass that prevents folks from driving across the dam. Some of the early construction can be seen here: