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A bridge between the past and the future

By Cpl. Nicolas Girault
First published in
SFOR Informer#115, June 13, 2001


A multinational engineer team reconstructed one more bridge. But this one was built by Yugoslav partisans during WWII, to help their struggle against fascism and nationalism. What a symbol!

Krkojevci An official ribbon-cutting ceremony by Sanski Most Mayor Mensure Sabic and Deputy Commander of Multinational Division - Southwest Brig. Gen. Jamie Balfour on May 31 ended five days of work for the SFOR engineers.
The Dabar Bridge reconstruction is a present from the United Kingdom to the citizens of BiH.
Located in the British area of responsibility, the work needed other contingents' support. Ten Canadians from the 24th Field Squadron, five New Zealanders and one South African supported about 20 British engineers from the 3rd Armoured Squadron. This bridge is not the first one to be rebuilt in BiH - ask the engineers - but this one is a special one, at least for three reasons.
A symbol
First, from its history, as Balfour explained, "It is fitting that a bridge forged in 1942 was used in World War II in the fight against fascism and nationalism will now be used in the service of peace to support human rights and restoration to normality." So, the Dabar Bridge rebuilding is of symbolic value.
Then, from the technical point of view, the structure's age permits the engineers to familiarise themselves with the old model, "that only old-timers knew, like me," explained Canadian Staff Sgt. Allan Ashley.
Lastly, this 40-metre bridge crossing the Dabar Creek, is not located on any important road's axis. It is placed on the Livno Road between the three villages of Krkojevci, Sanjani and Denjari. Sabic, mayor of Sanski Most, said,
"The building of the bridge will speed up the process of helping people of all nationalities to return to the area and assist with the increase of livestock and agriculture in the area, as well as tourism."
Today in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the main communication way has been repaired. In this domain, now, the SFOR engineers sometimes work more for the country itself than for the Stabilisation Force. That is why Allan said that "it was a carrying out of heart and mind work."

Related link:
Nations of SFOR: UK, Canada, New Zealand
Engineering - bridge stories