KABUL, Afghanistan (Oct. 8, 2010) — Afghan and U.S. officials cut a ceremonial ribbon Oct. 7 to break ground on a road construction project that will increase access to the Afghan National Detention Facility and also help local villagers by increasing business traffic in the area.
The public ribbon cutting for the $974,230 project marked the start of construction to restore and pave 2.5 miles of road outside the facility. The road is scheduled to be complete in mid-December.
This road project will help develop a center of commerce, said U.S. Navy Cmdr. Robert Lynch, director of logistics for CJIATF-435. Due to the condition of the road, traffic is impeded from the city to the prison, Lynch said.
“This is yours, this is for your children,” said one of the village elders to the assembled crowd of locals. “This is for your livelihood. This will be built on the highest standard. It is your responsibility to protect it.”
Just under one mile of the road must be completely restored and paved, while the remainder of the road will primarily require resurfacing. Improving this road with a level asphalt surface and proper drainage to each side will ensure immediate and safe access to shops and residences along the northern portion of the road as well as safe access to Jalalabad Road, which feeds the cities of Kabul and Jalalabad, Lynch said.
Once completed, the road will allow family members and legal representatives to more easily visit prisoners held at the ANDF facility. As a secondary benefit, the amount of neighborhood traffic and the corresponding increase in business traffic to shops along the way will also indicate the project’s success, Lynch added.
“The more roads we can build, the better,” said U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Robert S. Harward, Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435 commander. “It’s important for their families and their future.”
Harward said he plans to visit once the project is complete.
“When they finish, we’ll come back and we’ll all walk this together,” Harward told the villagers. “We’ll walk it together and make sure it’s good before the cars drive on it.”