By Jasmine Chopra-Delgadillo,
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Afghanistan Engineer District - South
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - The entrepreneurs at the Shur Andam Industrial Park in Kandahar need a paved road, so civil engineers from the 565th Engineer Detachment Forward Engineer Support Team - Advance conducted a road survey Nov. 7, 2012, to develop designs and specifications, a statement of work and cost estimate to facilitate future construction of a road at Shur Andam.
An industrial park is defined as a tract of land developed and subdivided into plots with provisions for roads, transportation and public utilities for the purpose of business-oriented activities, according to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization. Industrial parks play an important role in the economic development strategies of both developed and developing nations.
They are where manufacturing happens; paved roads to and from the parks move manufactured goods effectively and efficiently, explained Charles Yepa, a field engagement team adviser with the U.S. Department of State's Provincial Reconstruction Team in Kandahar. A former U.S. Army master sergeant who retired after serving more than 40 years, Yepa subsequently served as a federal loan officer with the Indian Health Service before joining the KPRT.
Currently, only about 60 businesses occupy the Shur Andam Industrial Park which has room for up to 300 businesses. It's not easy for most wheeled vehicles to traverse in and out of the park.
While it is uncertain if a paved road will result in an increase in tenants at the park; what is certain is that funding for construction of such a road at Shur Andam will not come from the U.S. Department of Defense.
"The goal is for the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and/ or a donor nation to use the data we provide to build the road," explained Bill Hollingsworth P.E., a civil engineer with the 565th.
A former U.S. Army combat engineer with more than 30 years combined military and civilian experience, Hollingsworth has built roads, bridges, schools, clinics and military facilities around the world.
He and fellow 565th member, Patrick "Mike" Bruse, a certified geographic information systems professional who retired from the U.S. Marine Corps, took several measurements, drew sketches and photographed the area where the proposed road would be located.
The road survey at Shur Andam and its related documents is one of about 140 projects the 565th has supported in Afghanistan in six months alone. If that sounds like a large number of completed projects that's because it is. The 565th Engineer Detachment Forward Engineer Support Team - Advance is an elite engineering solutions team capable of deploying quickly with armed forces on missions anywhere. There are only eight such teams in the world; each comprised of one officer-in-charge, one non-commissioned officer and six highly-skilled U.S. Army Corps of Engineers civilian technical experts. From design, construction management, contracting, geospatial support and more, the teams quickly produce relevant engineering products and services.
The 565th will provide the road designs and specifications, statement of work and cost estimate to the Department of State. One important feature is that the cost estimate will be in Afghan currency. This is in part because the Afghan Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, established to develop programs promoting responsible financial growth, primarily in the non-agricultural sector, has an important role in developing the road at Shur Andam, explained Hollingsworth.
"Our goal is to provide information the Afghans can use to build a reliable road that is best-suited for their needs," said Hollingsworth.