By A. Al Bharani
Special to American Forces Press Service
Jan. 15, 2008 - Army engineers are conducting a public works upgrade here, repairing streets and completing unfinished sewer work. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers started work on a Basra pavement and sewer project in November, said Ferdinand Guese, project engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Gulf Region South District.
The new project aims to complete the paving of various streets in Maqil, a neighborhood in the northern part of the city, Guese said. It also entails completing work on an unfinished sewer construction project, finishing the repair of 20 linear meters of 2-foot-high masonry fence, and repairing a section of drainage pipe that was damaged during construction of the Basra sewers in 2006.
Alaa, a project engineer with Gulf Region South's Basra Area Office, said the Maqil road repair project will entail putting a 5-centimeter overlay over the existing 10-centimeter pavement on the roads.
"The contractor supplies all the equipment, labor and materials necessary to pave 10,700 linear meters of street with asphalt in Al-Maqil neighborhood," he said.
Guese said the $1.7 million project will directly and indirectly provide jobs to more than 75 Iraqis in the city.
"Al-Maqil district ... is in close proximity to many Iraqi security forces facilities that include the Shat Al-Arab Hotel, an important Iraqi army facility in Basra city, Basra prison, and various police stations," Guese said
"After the turnover of security control of Basra province from the British to the Iraqi army in December, Al-Maqil and its surrounding Iraqi security forces facilities gained increased prominence in maintaining control of the area," he said.
The road rehabilitation in the area is seen as a very positive thing and has the full support of the local population, he added.
"I'm very happy to see the construction work on these streets which have been neglected more than 20 years," an Iraqi citizen who lives in Al-Maqil neighborhood said. "The residents here highly appreciate the improvements that have taken place in their neighborhood."
(A. Al Bahrani is a public affairs specialist with the Gulf Region South District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Iraq.)