Rebuilding Iraq one road at a time

That does not mean there are no roads. Mostly it means the existing roads are not "all-weather improved roads." Most are little more than dusty trails used by everything from four-wheel-drive vehicles to people on foot.

Many of these roads are impassable when rain turns them into muddy quagmires. It has been that way for centuries.

Today, something is being done to remedy the lack of all-weather roads between many of these villages and to connect them to existing improved roads. Nearly $40 million is being spent to provide hard-surfaced all-weather roads to these small towns in 15 of Iraq's 18 governances.

You will never see this story on your TV or in your local paper. Why?

Between 30 and 80 kilometers of roads, many only a few kilometers long, are to be built in each governance. Most are being built over existing dirt roads that are smoothed, graded and given a hard surface. Each will be 6 meters wide plus improved shoulders. Usually the construction includes an asphalt-finished surface.

Moe said Iraqi standards are considered more than sufficient to meet the needs of the intended users. "Everyday usage by the local population is seen as the main reason for these roads," he noted. "In addition, they provide invaluable access to arteries to vital centers."

Building new roads also increases morale in the local population and helps restore national security, Moe said. Construction of the roads will create about 8,000 jobs using local contractors. "When you create job opportunities for people in those governances, you are putting money into the pockets of the local citizens, money they badly need," he added.


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