The machines have already been delivered. They will make visiting the popular tourist attraction 30 miles outside Las Vegas easier for tourists, who for the past year have been told they must leaves purses, backpacks and other bags in their vehicles which are parked well away from the entrance to the dam.
"With those in place, people can bring their bags inside," said bureau spokeswoman Colleen Dwyer. "It will be like going into an airport."
A note on the dam's Web site advises visitors that wheelchairs and baby strollers are subject to search.
The security measures have apparently puzzled some visitors and generated media reports this week that vigilance has been stepped up to protect the vital dam from a terrorist attack or takeover.
Dwyer told United Press International that the bag ban was not connected to any specific threat, but was part of an overall step-up of security measures at the dam, which is a major source of electricity and water for the Southwest and has a highway that runs across the top.
"It was not for any increased threat or terrorist activity," Dwyer offered. "The increase in population brings increased risks."
More than 1 million people visit the dam and Lake Meade annually. Millions more drive across the top along U.S. 93.
Unlike most dams, the 762-foot-high Hoover Dam conducts guided tours that allow visitors into the power generation facility that provides electricity for more than 1 million people in parts of Arizona, Southern California and Nevada.
"This dam supplies power and water for those three states," Dwyer said. "It is a very valuable structure."
Dwyer noted that Hoover was the only dam in the United States to have its own police force, which primarily deals with traffic problems atop the structure.
While vehicles cross the dam freely, the chance of a bomb hidden in a car or truck damaging the dam is considered slight because the structure consists of 3.25 million cubic yards of concrete.
"That dam was built extremely well," Dwyer boasted.
Copyright 2001 by United Press International.
All rights reserved.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.