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FALLUJAH, Iraq (September 2, 2008) – An Iraqi worker levels out dirt and prepares it for paving a new entry control point (ECP) to Fallujah, Aug. 26. Coalition forces and the Fallujah City Council (FCC) here are overseeing a road construction project to better facilitate commercial truckers entering the city. (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Chris Lyttle) (RELEASED)

Photo by Cpl. Chris Lyttle

Fallujah paves path for commerce, security

2 Sep 2008 | Cpl. Chris Lyttle

FALLUJAH, Iraq (September 2, 2008) – Coalition forces and the Fallujah City Council (FCC) are overseeing a road construction project to better facilitate commercial truckers entering the city.

Civil Affairs Team 2, 2nd Battalion, 11th Marines, in direct support of 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines, and the FCC are three weeks into repaving the route through Entry Control Point 1A (ECP1A), a checkpoint on the outskirts of Fallujah designed to safeguard the commercial truck entrance into the city.

“(The previous route) became a deterrent for people bringing all the commerce into the city,” said Staff Sgt. Aaron Colling, team chief, Civil Affairs Team 2, who is responsible for the reconstruction project assessment and tracking its progress.

Colling said the new road is a straight shot, improved from the old route that was winding, torn up with potholes and filled with bumps and debris. Improving the road’s structural integrity also prevents insurgents from using it as a means of attacking local nationals.

“From a security standpoint, traffic will move smoother, but in a more controlled environment— and it’s going to look more professional,” Colling said.

The project was initiated by the FCC and is funded by the Government of Iraq. Team 2 was tasked to manage the project and ensure it is completed according to Government of Iraq standards.

The FCC chose a sub-base road construction, which involves grating the land and applying multiple layers of asphalt, soil, and condensed mixed stones.

This road will come off of the highway straight through the ECP and into the city. Before, the road weaved in and out, making it difficult for 18-wheelers, which averaged five miles-per-hour through the checkpoint.

Colling described how the construction is not only better for the truckers, but it will also help commerce in Fallujah.

“Time waiting in line is going to be much less,” Colling said. “People may have thought before, ‘Well, I don’t want to go to Fallujah City because it’s going to take an hour just to get my truck through.’ Now there’s going to be a separate line for empty trucks. That will speed up the time for those trucks actually bringing in goods so they can get into the city faster. Basically, it improves commerce and returns normalcy to the city.”

Colling added that the checkpoint is also a good way to track the outside goods coming in.

“The more trucks bringing in goods shows that Fallujah is rebuilding itself and bringing more money into the city,” Colling said.

The road construction project is slated for completion in November.