Praise for Bridge Building

Thank you for the very informative and enjoyable article about the construction of the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge. Mr. Zanetell and his team have provided a practical and aesthetically pleasing solution to a problem others avoided. All of the participants, the crews, the contractors, the suppliers, the designers and the managers share the accomplishment.

It is appropriate for Colorado School of Mines to claim some reflected admiration. Large, visible projects like this bridge can be pointed to with pride by the school and held up as an example of the best Mines can offer.

As I look at the photos provided with the article, I see another useful and visible project completed by Mines graduates. On the Nevada side of the canyon, what looks like a big concrete silo is the surface structure of the visitor’s elevator shaft constructed by Frontier-Kemper Constructors. The company also refurbished the overflow spillways on both sides of the dam.

I point these projects out because there are many important infrastructure projects involving Mines graduates that are not highly visible. These include highway tunnels, subways, water tunnels, storm water storage tunnels and many mining-related facilities. Mining seems to be in low regard at Mines these days. Perhaps you could address that by highlighting some of these less visible projects.

Frontier Constructors was founded by Mines graduates Dyke Howell ’63 and Dan McFadden ’63. They later merged with Kemper Construction to form FKCI. Mines graduate Denis McInerny ’66 was also part of FKCI. Coach Marv Kay ’63 worked for Frontier Constructors on at least two projects that I recall.

All of the above played football at Mines. The Mines fight song, as I recall, included the following lines:

“If you want a bridge to Mars,
or a ten foot shaft to hell,
we’ll do the job up smartly,
and we’ll do the job right well.”

John Kyffin ’73