June 17, 2012--Lake Mead pipeline project risky but vital to Las Vegas' future (Denver Post)

Just 6 miles from where the Hoover Dam holds back the largest reservoir in the nation, workers are struggling against solid rock, geologic faults and seeping water to construct an intake tunnel to keep drinking water flowing from shrinking Lake Mead to thirsty Las Vegas. Their work in a hot, humid cavern about 600 feet below ground goes largely unnoticed by local residents and tourists enjoying icy drinks in glittery Sin City casinos and nightspots. But the perils of tunneling beneath the lake bed were cast in stark terms last week, when a veteran tunnel worker died on the daunting $817 million, five-year project that officials compare with building the dam itself. They cast the so-called "Third Straw" project as the most complex current effort of its kind in the U.S. "It has factors that are very unique to this project and make it very complicated," said Heidi Dexheimer, a Las Vegas civil engineer and regional representative of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Dexheimer once worked at the Southern Nevada Water Authority and is familiar with the project, but isn't involved with it.

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