Completion of Road in Iraq Sets Stage for Improved Commerce
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 19, 2005 Coalition forces, along with Iraqi leaders, completed a road project here that spans more than four kilometers and cost about $565,000.
"The paving of the Hamourabi village road is great for the community," said Capt. Christian Neels, civil-military operations officer for the Army's 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment.. "The completion of the road will offer a quicker means of allowing farmers and the local population to get to the market and in the long run, contribute to the economic progress of the area."
Neels added that unemployment in the surrounding towns and the Hey Al Askari area is high. With few jobs available in the community, the roadway will allow the population to get into Baghdad, where employment opportunities are greater, he explained.
Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 21st Field Artillery, 1st Cavalry Division, initially proposed the project to provide easier access for farmers and the local population to get to the market and to operate their vehicles after rains. Prior to the paving of the roadway, civilian traffic was severely restricted by the mud roads and the adjacent canal.
After the transition of authority in the area from the 1st Cavalry Division to the 3rd Infantry Division in February, the 3/7 Infantry inherited the project and worked closely with Sheikh Ali Muttar, the Radwaniya Neighborhood Advisory Council chairman, Neels said.
Sheikh Ali has overseen other infrastructure improvement projects in the Radwaniya neighborhood. A 3,000-meter waterline that runs alongside the Hamourabi Road was built and works in conjunction with two water towers in the area, said Sheikh Ali.
"The two water towers in Hey Al Askari and Al Musafer have the potential of providing drinking water for at least 7,000 people," he said. He also said that before the municipality of Baghdad can accept the water project, the local contractor must make some modifications.
Although the Radwaniya area now falls under the control of 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, the soldiers of 3/7 Infantry keep in touch with the progress of Sheikh Ali and his community.
"Continuing roadway and water improvements and establishing long-term employment of the local population in our sector will continue to be our emphasis," Neels said. (Courtesy of Multinational Force Iraq.)