Story and Photo by
1st Lt. Grant Taulbee
561st Engineer Company, 84th Eng. Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command
NOGALES, Ariz. — Soldiers of 2nd Platoon, 561st Engineer Company, 84th Eng. Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, completed the second phase of a three- phase road construction project in support of Joint Task Force-North and the U.S. Border Patrol, here, recently.
Located west of Nogales, Ariz., and feet from the U.S.-Mexico border, the road will provide Border Patrol agents increased mobility to areas previously inaccessible by vehicle.
A solid rock wall on one side of the road and a steep cliff on the other made maneuvering the heavy construction equipment along the steep terrain a challenge.
The unit maneuvered the terrain over the course of the 36-day mission with no vehicular accidents or rollovers. Soldiers constructed a 600-foot long road to a lookout point at the top of a hill, which will provide Border Patrol agents with 360-degree visibility for miles in an area frequented by drug carrying mules.
The project’s main effort was installing two culvert pipes, each 135-feet long. Each concrete pipe section weighed more than 5,000 pounds and required precise placement to ensure proper fit. The 36 culvert pipe sections were placed in two working days, speaking volumes about the equipment operator’s capabilities.
Also, concrete headwalls were constructed, which provided the horizontal platoon additional challenge and training opportunities like constructing vertical concrete formwork, emplacing rebar and pouring concrete.
The project gave the Soldiers an opportunity to train on tasks that are difficult or impossible to train on in their home station, and has the benefit of providing Border Patrol a lasting product, which will enhance the agency’s capabilities to conduct its mission.
“You’ve got to look at it as a win-win situation,” said a spokesperson for the Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector.