Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Brits repair bridge over not so troubled waters

Sappers from 35 Engineer Regiment based In Paderborn Germany ensured that Basrawis’ transport infrastructure remained fully functional in a 2 night operation to repair a major bridge crossing the Shat Al Arab river in Basra, Iraq over the weekend.

The bridge that spans Cigar Island in the north-west of the city and links Basra to the Qaryat Ar Ramlah region was in need of urgent repairs after some of the steel plates that make up its surface had become damaged.

The operation required close liaison with the Iraqi Security Forces to ensure a security cordon was placed around the bridge during the repair phase. The local population had been warned of the overnight bridge closures by radio message and the repairs were carried out at night so as to cause minimum disruption to the local population.

The troop commander in charge of the operation Lieutenant Angela Laycock, 26, from 29 Armoured Engineer Squadron, Royal Engineers said:

“The troops were very grateful to carry out this task as they knew the bridge repair was so vital to the locals. They worked really hard during the night and there was good interaction with the Iraqi Police and Army who helped to man the outer cordon. They were really positive about the bridge being repaired too.”

“As soon as the bridge was reopened at 0600 in the morning a moped, donkey and a truck full of sand crossed the bridge without having to dodge the broken panels that were there the night before.”

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