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Engineers rebuild Baghdad highway bridge
By Spc. Chris McCann, 2nd BCT, 10th Mtn. Div. (LI) PAO
May 13, 2007 - 7:41:54 PM
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Sgt. Andrew Holland, a native of Warren, Ohio, and a welder with the 502nd Engineer Battalion, 411th Engineer Brigade out of Hanau, Germany, cuts damaged bolts from the ramp of a bridge on a main Iraqi thoroughfare. Soldiers of the 502nd worked through the night to completely renovate the bridge May 11. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Chris McCann, 2nd BCT PAO, 10th Mtn. Div. (LI))
Blackanthem Military News, BAGHDAD, Iraq — Coalition forces, working at night to avoid the worst of the Iraqi heat, rebuilt a bridge on major Iraqi highway south of Baghdad May 11.

Soldiers of the 502nd Engineer Battalion, 411th Engineer Brigade, based out of Hanau, Germany, replaced the steel decks and ramps of the Maby-Johnson-type bridge.

The original concrete bridge which formed the southbound lane of the highway was blown up by a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device in 2004.  A replacement bridge made of steel was put up to allow traffic on the main highway.

The replacement, under heavy use by both civilian and military vehicles, has been suffering, with bolts rusting into place and steel beginning to bend under the heavy loads.

The 502nd replaced all of the decking – huge squares of stamped steel – and the ramps leading up to and off of the raised bridge. Many of the bolts had to be cut away with torches due to damage.

“The deck comes in sections,” said Sgt. 1st Class Shade Munday, a native of Morristown, S.D., and a platoon sergeant with the 502nd, during the 10-hour operation. “We've been planning this operation for about a week. It will make the bridge a lot stronger, and it will allow for two-way traffic instead of just one-way.”

Lt. Col. Jeffrey Harrison, a native of Snellville, Ga., who serves as the commander of the 2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) out of Fort Drum, N.Y., visited the 502nd as they worked.

The 2nd BSTB includes the 2nd BCT's engineer company.

“The bridge was meant to stay in place awhile, but it's on a main supply route – it's used by a lot of civilian traffic as well, and there was damage occurring,” Harrison said.   

Plans are underway to rebuild the original bridge.

“We're going to kick that off in a few weeks,” Harrison said. “It will take several weeks because it's a standard concrete bridge, just like you'd see in the United States.”

The timing of the mission was important, said Sgt. Stacie Notz, an engineer with the 502nd and a native of Moultrie, Ga.

“We're doing it at night because there's less traffic, and it's easier for the Soldiers to avoid heat exhaustion,” she said.

Despite the heat, Soldiers continued to work through the night to accomplish the mission and provide safe travel along Route Tampa.

Until then, he added, the Maby-Johnson will cover the 2nd BCT's transportation needs as well as those of others in the area.

“The repairs the 502nd made will keep it operational until it's no longer needed,” Harrison said.

ADDITIONAL PHOTOS:

 
Pfc. Erin McArthur (standing), a native of LaCrosse, Wisc., and Pfc. Erich Pierce, a native of Brick, N.J., take bolts out of the deck of a bridge on an Iraqi highway on an all-night operation May 11. The Soldiers, part of a platoon from the 502nd Engineer Battalion, 411th Engineer Brigade out of Hanau, Germany, were replacing almost all of the bridge, which has been damaged by heavy traffic. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Chris McCann, 2nd BCT PAO, 10th Mtn. Div. (LI))
Staff Sgt. David Rojas (left), a native of Farmdale, Calif., and Pfc. Jose Canales (right), a native of Long Island, N.Y., both engineers with the 502nd Engineer Battalion, 411th Engineer Brigade out of Hanau, Germany, help guide sheets of steel bridge decking onto a pile as they are unloaded from trucks on a main highway just south of Baghdad, May 11. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Chris McCann, 2nd BCT PAO, 10th Mtn. Div. (LI))

Sgt. Moises Gonzales (left), a native of Riverside, Calif., and Sgt. Stacie Notz, a native of Multrie, Ga. (right), remove parts of a Maby-Johnson bridge on a main highway south of Baghdad, during a repair operation May 11. The Soldiers, of the 502nd Engineer Battalion, 411th Engineer Brigade, out of Hanau, Germany worked through the night to repair damage to the temporary bridge. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Chris McCann, 2nd BCT PAO, 10th Mtn. Div. (LI))

 

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