Kunar Bridge Construction Project Moves Forward
By Maj. Eric Zenk, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service
JALALABAD AIRFIELD, Afghanistan, May. 5, 2006 Coalition forces and Afghan contractors continued the early stages of work May 3 on a permanent bridge over the Pech River.
Marines from Task Force Lava conduct a Pech River crossing in armored vehicles while a soldier from Company A, 27th Engineer Battalion, part of Task Force Spartan, observes their progress April 19. Photo by 1st Lt. Luke Haravitch, USA
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Coalition forces encountered water levels more than seven feet deep during previous attempts to maneuver across the river. The 397th Engineer Battalion, part of Task Force Spartan, was called to provide support. Engineers moved two Army bulldozers and two small emplacement excavator vehicles to the river crossing area. Both vehicles are used to move medium-to-large amounts of rock and sand during road construction projects.
A contractor is clearing debris, sand and mud from the construction area to allow engineers to place culverts in the river and create a man-made land bridge. Coalition forces will use the new land bridge to cross the Pech River and move into their operational areas within the Korengal Valley.
In addition to the Pech River clearing, the engineers will widen the Pech River Valley Road into two lanes to allow large vehicles to move freely throughout both valleys.
"In the past the people of the Korengal and Pech River valleys were separated early in the spring each year due to the snow melt in the mountains, which flooded the river, creating a natural barrier between the residents on each side of the river," said Army 1st Lt. Luke Haravitch, A Company, 27th Engineer Battalion and a project planner.
"The new bridge will connect the residents within the Korengal and Pech River valleys year-round and create economic opportunities for the local people living in the area while providing security and stability in the region."
(Army Maj. Eric Zenk is Task Force Spartan public affairs officer.)