About 90 minutes south of Las Vegas sits a little gambling town called Laughlin Nevada. It sits right on the Colorado River and on the other side is Bullhead City, Arizona as well as easy access to the Grand Canyon and Phoenix Arizona. As well as the western ghost town of Oatman.
Up until 1987, there was no easy way to cross the mighty Colorado River from Laughlin to Bullhead City. Then, Don Laughlin, the former Minnesota Farm boy turned casino entrepreneur and founder of Laughlin Nevada, paid $3 million to have an Interstate worthy bridge built across the river right in front of His casino and the entrance to His little town. Business boomed for all the other casinos as well as His own with the new bridge.
And there sat a problem. They needed a second bridge built to handle all the new traffic as well as provide better safety access for the surrounding residents and businesses. So after about 20 years, they started to plan for the new bridge. And now they are ready to start the work needed to build the bridge. But now it has an estimated price tag of $46 Million! With an overall cost of $52 Million
The Mohave Valley Daily News (an Arizona publication) reports that the invitation to bid on building the new bridge required an agreement with the Nevada Department of Transportation and that was accomplished last Friday.
Clark County District A Commissioner Michael Naft, who represents the town of Laughlin, said the proposed 724-foot bridge is important for public safety and the long-term economic growth of the area. Everyone agrees to that.
Somehow, a bridge that a private person paid to have built only cost three million dollars in 1987. That would be $6 million dollars by today’s inflation calculator. To have the taxpayer foot the bill in 2021 to build a similar bridge will cost $46 million to build. Interesting.
Before the Don Laughlin bridge was opened, drivers had to use a ferry boat to cross the river or travel over Davis Dam to go from one community to the other — a round trip of about 12 miles.