Hoover Dam: First Joint Venture and Construction Milestones in Excavation, Geology, Materials Handling, and Aggregates


The size of the Boulder Canyon Project necessitated a broad array of innovations in construction engineering and management which had enormous impacts on all of the large scale projects that followed it. Foremost among these was the employment of a joint venture involving eight different firms, organized into six partners (Six Companies, Incorporated). Many of the techniques employed to construct of Hoover Dam were of a pioneering nature, designed to hasten the construction schedule and maximize profits. These were emulated and perfected by Six Companies and most of their competitors for several decades thereafter. Some of these included: multiple-level rail spurs; temporary trestles and suspension bridges of many sizes, employment of construction access adits to allow multiple headings of underground workings; fully automated concrete batch plants; staging of construction materials on the opposite river bank; government provision of all materials except the concrete aggregate (to minimize risk of construction claims and delays). Major achievements were also made in quality assurance and materials testing, despite the fact that the job proceeded round-the-clock.

Meeting Name

Hoover Dam 75th Anniversary History Symposium (2010: Oct. 21-22, Las Vegas, NV)


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Batch Plants; Construction Claim; Construction Engineering; Construction Schedules; Fully Automated; Joint Ventures; Large-Scale Projects; Underground Working; Concretes; Quality Assurance; Industry

Geographic Coverage

Clark County, Nevada

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)


Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2010 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Oct 2010