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The construction of Hoover Dam is considered to be one of Americas finestengineering achievements However the dam that rose from the floor of Black Canyonwas not only a structural accomplishment it was a proposition firmly rooted inpracticalities The necessity of such a dam had been obvious for more than twodecades The Colorado Rivers cycles of drought and flood in the American southwestincapacitated the growth of the agricultural industry It was felt that a dam that couldcontrol the river would also provide hydroelectric power eventually rendering the damself-financing The growth of Las Vegas and Southern California as major metropolitancenters also depended to a large extent on the availability of water and power Almostfrom the beginning of its construction the dam possessed an epic quality thatstimulated the national imagination It was apparent that the meaning of the dam itselfwas beyond even that of a structure that equaled the vast landscape it inhabited Thedam and the people who built it began controlling nature in a new and powerful way Although construction actually began on the Hoover Dam in 1931 site testingfor the project had begun early in the 1920s In 1927 the Swing-Johnson bill waspassed by Congress and President Coolidge which gave the go ahead on Hoover Damproject So many construction companies around the country began to evaluate theproposals Most agreed that the plan was too ambitious too difficult the landscapewas too unforgiving and the technology was not advanced enough to build a dam ofthat size But on March 11 1931 Six Companies Incorporated a conglomeration ofsix smaller construction companies won the job with a bid of 48890955 The StorySince this dam site was so remote the first task was to lay roads and railroadlines so that all the materials would be easily accessible The Colorado River mostimportantly had to be diverted Four diversion tunnels were cut over a period of a yearthrough the bedrock of Black Canyon A temporary dam was constructed
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