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    Bridging the way to Garmsir



    Story by Cpl. Colby Brown 

    Regimental Combat Team-5

    GARMSIR DISTRICT, Helmand province, Afghanistan — Two years ago, an improvised explosive device blew a hole in the Darvishan Bridge, a main bridge across the Helmand River here.

    Since the IED strike, several temporary fixes have been implemented so vehicle traffic is still able to traverse the bridge. Marines from 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment are teaming up with local contractors to make more permanent repairs to the bridge

    “It’s important to have this bridge in the best shape possible so…[local residents] can move in and out of the district and also so they can transport their product,” said Staff Sgt. Jason Jensen, platoon sergeant for 1/3’s Engineer Platoon and native of Houston, Texas. “It is also important for coalition forces convoys as well, so they can move in and out of Garmsir.”

    When the IED detonated, the middle of the bridge was left untouched with the blast damaging only 30 feet of the structure on the western side of the river. There was, however, extensive damage as the explosion caused the bridge to shift and crack, separating several support beams from the structure.

    The most recent temporary fix was a medium girder bridge across the damaged area. This girder has since been removed so a local contractor can start making repairs. The permanent repair project began Oct. 31 and is scheduled to be completed in late December.

    A local Garmsir contractor has been hired for the project, estimated at more than $200,000. Repairs will include a complete replacement of damaged concrete and rebar, ensuring the structure is stable enough to support vehicle traffic.

    The bridge functions as a main entry point in the northeastern part of the Garmsir. Without a functional crossing point, local and coalition vehicle traffic would be detoured many miles north or south to cross the Helmand River.

    The bridge also serves as a main route to the Hazar Joft Bazaar, one of the busiest in the district. Permanent repairs to the structure will ensure local resident are able to transport their goods to and from this commerce center.

    “It’s the main bridge going in and out,” said Jensen. “So, it’s heavily trafficked by local nationals taking product to the bazaar and it is the main entrance into the district for friendly convoys.”

    Local residents and coalition forces are pleased to finally see permanent repairs to the bridge are well underway after two years of temporary fixes.

    Editor’s note: First Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, is currently assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5, 2nd Marine Division (Forward), which heads Task Force Leatherneck. The task force serves as the ground combat element of Regional Command (Southwest) and works in partnership with the Afghanistan National Security Forces and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to conduct counterinsurgency operations. The unit is dedicated to securing the Afghan people, defeating insurgent forces, and enabling the ANSF assumption of security responsibilities within its operations in order to support the expansion of stability, development and legitimate governance.



    Date Taken: 11.03.2011
    Date Posted: 11.03.2011 15:53
    Story ID: 79522

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