The US government has approved a US$198M highway bypass project to ease traffic congestion on the road over Hoover Dam, according to US officials.

The Federal Highway Administration has completed a major review of plans for the project which will involve the construction of a 274m high, 4.8km bridge over the Colorado river just downstream of the dam.

The bypass project, called the Sugarloaf Mountain alternative, was considered as the best choice to minimise environmental impacts, ease traffic problems and protect the dam.