Battle of the Titans

Stacking up CityCenter with Hoover Dam


The $13 billion CityCenter project on the Strip.

With the recent death of a sixth construction worker at the CityCenter construction site, the comparisons between the enormous project and its spiritual brother, the Hoover Dam—where construction fatalities were also a fact of life—come into further relief. They are, after all, the two most dynamic construction projects in the history of Nevada. The Hoover Dam helped to invent the American southwest, and make today’s Las Vegas possible. CityCenter symbolizes the city’s ambition to join the ranks of truly great cities. Architecturally, the dam is a masterpiece of assertive and elegant art deco lines; CityCenter is shaping up to be a landmark of contemporary glass and steel. Best of all, both are emblematic of that uniquely American—and uniquely Nevadan—contempt toward the impossible.

7,500 at peak
Amazing amount of …
Glass: 512 million square feet
$9 billion+
Lives lost
Source: MGM Mirage
April 20, 1931 to March 1, 1936
21,000 men on project
5,218 max (June 1934)
Amazing amount of …
Concrete: 4.36 million cubic yards in dam, power plant and related structures
$165 million ($2.5 billion in 2007 dollars)
Lives lost
96 official deaths (workers who died on site)
Estimated 700 total deaths
Sources: Bureau of Reclamation, (inflation calculator)

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