New entrance to Camp Butmir

Maj. Pellumb Elezi
First published in
SFOR Informer#157, February 6, 2003

SFOR Informer No. 145 dated Aug. 15, 2002 announced that the construction of a new main gate for Camp Butmir, Sarajevo was imminent. Now, after about five months it is (almost) a reality. The general appearance of one of the entrances to Headquarters SFOR is changing. The new gate will improve the flow and security, separate SFOR, civilian and commercial traffic. Every soldier arriving in HQ SFOR that previously saw the old gate can see the change.

Camp Butmir - Before the work started in the field, the design had to be done. That was closely co-ordinated between Camp Butmir HQ Commandant, his security and public work staff, HQ SFOR Engineer Branch and the Theatre Allied Contracting Office (TACO). During the constructing period the main gate had to remain fully operational.
Work and security
The work at the Main Gate was complex and needed several equipment including excavators, bulldozers and front loaders. The aim was to dig up the ground and fill it with layers of gravel; and compact it for the new asphalt surface. It was important to properly operate. Otherwise it would not be able to support the weight of the vehicles that will move and park there. Very often, knees deep in the mud, stoically supporting the constant rain, the front loaders scooped up the mud and loaded it into trucks, which took it away. During the next step, the bulldozers flattened the ground and then layers of gravel were laid and compacted. The roller drivers acted in a key role. “It is important that the quality of work is at the required standard and I am working very carefully,” explained Romanian Sgt. Maj. Ilie Marculescu, a loader driver
During all this work one had to take care of people and equipment. “They apply the philosophy that the better the operator is, the less problems occur with the equipment,” said Romanian Maj. Adrian Iloiu, Liaison Officer to Eng. Branch, SFOR.
Safety is paramount. All the day began with a safety reminder. People sometimes work closely and they are in constant motion. All the drivers have to be very attentive of their partners. They are responsible for their safety and their lives.
The project
“The project of the Main Gate, which started on Sept. 2, 2002, is complex and a very good one,” said Iloiu. It has involved the inclusion of a new road layout to improve traffic flow and to separate SFOR civilian and commercial traffic. There will be three roads to come inside and one road to go outside. The new gate includes weather protection for the guard force, under vehicle inspection lighting, raised traffic barriers and improved pedestrian security checks through the use of metal detectors and X-ray devices. Another main element of the project is the car park adjacent to the new gate. That park will be for the cars of Local civilians hired.
On the eve of terminating
The ground and drainage works, using SFOR Engineer assets, Romanian Engineer Detachment (RED) and Engineer Support Unit (ESU) will be completed by February 2003. Asphalt work, Phase A was completed on Dec. 6, 2002. The other part of the work included the construction of the guard shelter and concrete barriers. This work already started and when completed the asphalt work, Phase B, will start. “We were working hard and hope to finish our work in time and with good quality, but these last days, the snow and the cold weather have impeded our work. But of course, that will be temporary,” said in concluded Romanian 1st Sgt. Dorel Calin, a driver.

Related link: Nations of SFOR - Romania

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Photos: Courtesy of Engineer Branch, HQ SFOR

Romanian Engineers Detachment have been on the spot for more than six months.


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Excavators, bulldozers and front loaders were daily used.


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When it does not snow or rain, the work progresses fast.