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Delaunching of Brcko the North Bridge

By 2Lt Alexis Clement
First published in
SFOR Informer #90, June 21, 2000

Brcko - The Hungarian and American engineers began last June 16 to disassemble the Brcko north bridge. This Mabey & Johnson type bridge had been launched in 1996 by engineers from the same countries during the Implantation Force mandate (IFOR). Indeed, the original bridge going from Brcko to the Republic of Croatia over the Sava River had both sides destroyed destroyed. Two temporary bridges had been launched. They are going to be now withdrawn and to be replaced by a permanent bridge.

Thirty Hungarian sappers of the Road and Bridge Construction Company based in Okunanis and 11 American sappers works on this site. During two days, they lifted the entire bridge thanks to jacks and to place rolling between the armature and the eight points of contact of the bridge. It was then pulled on to the road on the Croatian side by a Tatra truck with the help of its winch that can pull a load of 20 tons. Parts of the old bridge remained in place and are still usable.

The bridge is going to be restored. Only some marks on the pavement will remind people of the presence of a military bridge for more than four years.
The organization of this type of mission is not a easy task. It is necessary to close the bridge during the all delaunching and also during the reconstruction, therefore an alternative route has to be found for traffic. In this case, a ferry has been set in place. Added to this is the presence of mines and only the immediate surroundings of the bridge have been cleared.

The Hungarian sappers commanded by Maj. Janos Puskas are used to this type of mission. They take care of the maintenance and security of all MND North bridges. These engineers coming from 75 different units make a complete check of all bridges, every month. When it is necessary they can change a part or tighten bolts. A lot of these bridges have been constructed very quickly and over time, this sometimes creates problems. In Doboj, a metal bridge has been launched in the middle of winter for example, and every summer, metal expands and creates problems distortion.

COMSFOR, Lt. Gen. Ron Adams came to visit the Brcko site on the 16th of June. He said he was very satisfied with the work of the Hungarian sappers. The Greek transportation Battalion HELBA will come to take the parts away in a few days. Work is not for finished as much; Hungarian will start disassembling the south part of the bridge on July 16th.

Related link:
Engineering: Bridge stories
Nations of SFOR: Hungary, USA