U.S. military: Bypass road to replace bridge is ready
June 26, 2007
American and Iraqi troops have completed a bypass road to replace a major bridge destroyed by insurgents earlier this month, officials said Monday.
The Sarihah Bridge, which provided a crucial road link between Baghdad and northern Kirkuk province, was destroyed by a bomb on June 2. It was one of several major attacks on bridges in Iraq, with military officials speculating that the attacks were meant to stop the flow of people and commerce between regions of the country.
On Sunday, officials said, the bypass around the Sarihah Bridge was completed by the 4th Iraqi Army Division and the U.S. Army’s 25th Infantry Division’s 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion.
Work to fully repair the bridge itself is under way, officials said.
“This [bypass road] is essential to the economic health of Iraq,” Kirkuk provincial governor Abdul-Rahman Mustafa was quoted as saying in a U.S. military news release. “But it is temporary. We are here today to reassure the public that we will continue to cooperate to rebuild the bridge.”
Other attacks on bridges included a parked truck bomb that destroyed a bridge over the Diyala River in Baqouba on June 12.
A day before that attack, three U.S. soldiers were killed when insurgents knocked down an overpass on the main highway south of Baghdad.
In March and April, three of Baghdad’s 13 bridges had been bombed. The worst of those attacks was on the Sarafiyah Bridge; 11 people were killed when a bomb collapsed the span into the river.
U.S. officials have blamed al-Qaida in Iraq for the bombings.