$1B Grafenwöhr construction project running on schedule
GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — Unexploded ordnance, a World War II-era tank, an artillery piece and contaminated soil unearthed during recent construction have not delayed the $1 billion project called Efficient Basing Grafenwöhr, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The project — which includes thousands of houses, 12 new or renovated barracks, two schools, a dining facility, wash racks for Stryker armored personnel carriers, 24 company headquarters and motor pools and the Army’s largest post exchange in Europe — is on time and on budget, Edward Argueta, the Corps’ EBG project manager, said Thursday.
U.S. engineers are working alongside their counterparts with the BauDienstStelle, a German government office that oversees construction projects to make sure they comply with German law, he said.
That’s helped keep the project running smoothly at its half-way point, he said.
Forty five BDS engineers, who oversee thousands of German contractors working on the project, share an office at Camp Aachen with about 30 U.S. staff from the Corps of Engineers and U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwöhr’s Department of Public Works, Argueta said.
Andrew Spendlove, who heads a small group of public works staff in the office, said the close relationship between his organization and the U.S. and German engineers helps get contractors back to work quickly when they dig up things like old oil spills or ordnance.
“On other bases here or in the States it has taken up to two weeks at times to sort out similar issues. Here we can respond within an hour most times,” he said.
At Grafenwöhr, contractors recently unearthed a WWII-era tank and a large artillery piece near the post exchange-commissary construction area. Legal issues were quickly resolved to remove the weapons and get contractors back to work, he said.
The public works staff, working with the engineers, helps keep traffic flowing at Grafenwöhr during construction.
Information about road closures is put in community newsletters, Argueta said.
Grafenwöhr Garrison spokeswoman Susanne Bartsch has said the base will grow from a 1,000-soldier garrison with 2,000 military family members to a brigade-size facility with 4,500 active-duty soldiers and 7,000 family members over the next few years.
New base emerging
When completed, Grafenwöhr will grow from a 1,000-soldier garrison with 2,000 military family members to a brigade-size facility with 4,500 active-duty soldiers and 7,000 family members over the next few years. The following are currently under construction: