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Pacific Partnership Builds Bridge, Literally and Figuratively

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS090903-05
Release Date: 9/3/2009 8:17:00 AM

By Lt. Cmdr. Nancy Harrity, Pacific Partnership Public Affairs

TARAWA, Kiribati (NNS) -- A multinational team of engineers from Pacific Partnership completed the installation of a new, pre-engineered bridge connecting North and South Tarawa this week, known as the Tanaea-Bouta Bridge.

"The bridge is a critical project, impacting those communities who use the bridge to get to work, school and to their families," said Kiribati Foreign Secretary Tessie Lambourne during her remarks at the opening ceremony. The bridge connects North and South Tarawa and serves approximately 5,000 local residents.

The engineers from Australia, Canada and the United States dismantled and removed the existing, failed 186-foot bridge before assembling and setting the "Mabey Johnson" pre-engineered bridge on the existing concrete abutments. The replacement bridge assembled very much like a life-sized version of an Erector Set.

"Now that we have this new bridge, it will be the responsibility of my ministry to look after it and to make sure it gets the attention it needs to maintain its structural integrity," said Kiribati Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure the Honorable Kirabuke Teiaua in his remarks at the bridge's ribbon cutting ceremony Sept. 2.

"The knowledge and hands-on experience gained from the project, together with the video pictures taken, will be very useful when the need for maintenance of the bridge or repair of any parts thereof arises in the future."

To enhance the bridge's longevity, the engineering team added an extra layer of anti-corrosive coating and installed bollards, headwalls and new ramps to protect the bridge, which is expected to last more than 20 years and can handle loads of up to 40,000 pounds per axel.

Pacific Partnership works by, with and through partner nations, non-governmental organizations and other U.S. government and international agencies to execute a variety of humanitarian civic assistance (HCA) missions in the Pacific Fleet area of responsibility from a ship dedicated to this HCA mission. This year's mission is focused ashore with a variety of engineering, medical and dental civic action programs providing humanitarian civic assistance. The mission continues on to the Republic of the Marshall Islands and has completed visits to Samoa, Tonga, Solomon Islands and Kiribati.

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