MARJAH, Afghanistan --
Marine engineers are hard at work in Afghanistan repairing roads in Marjah to make it easier and safer for Marines and Afghans to travel through Helmand province.
Marines with 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward), who touched down in Afghanistan in May, spearheaded a route-repairing mission that began, May 23.
For their most recent project, dubbed “Route Marcie,” they filled potholes and resurfaced the road, improving trafficability for Afghans and coalition forces.
“The mission 9th ESB has been tasked with is to conduct route repair to some of the more heavily traveled roads around Marjah,” said Gunnery Sgt. Aaron Boone, staff non-commissioned officer in charge of the Route Marcie project, 9th ESB, 1st MLG (FWD). “Right now we’re working on Marcie as it’s a heavily-traveled road. It has bazaars, and a lot of local nationals live off of this road,” said Boone.
First, the Marines used a bulldozer to cut and push the uneven portion of the road away and create an even surface. Afterward, they laid down gravel. The Marines were able to accomplish their mission, even when presented with challenges.
“The process has been going really well,” said Chief Warrant Officer Matthew Lovely, officer in charge of the Route Marcie project, 9th ESB, 1st MLG (Fwd). “The hardest part about it is it’s a very narrow area, we don’t have a lot of room to maneuver.”
The Marines worked on the road strictly at night so as to not impede the Afghans’ movement. During the day the road is buzzing with locals purchasing items from the bazaar.
Many local Afghans appeared to be excited and receptive of the Marines’ road-repairing efforts, pointing to the ground, making leveling gestures and giving a thumbs up signal as Marines worked in the area, a Marine heavy equipment operator reported, according to Lt. Col. Ted Adams, commanding officer of 9th ESB.
Road repair projects like this are a “win-win,” said Adams. They reduce the threat of IEDs, increase mobility for friendly forces, demonstrate the government’s capacity to improve infrastructure and improve the economic potential for many Afghans.
“That’s why we say: ‘Afghanistan: Where life is only as good as the road you live on,’” said Adams.
Road improvements for “Route Marcie” are scheduled to be completed by the end of the week.