U.S. Navy rolls out the gravel carpet
U.S. Navy Sailors from the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 22, also known as Seabees, completed a road construction project May 2, 2016, at Chebelley, Djibouti.
The two-month construction placed a mile-long road of gravel to provide a safer route for more than 300 military members and Djiboutian civilians who use the road each day.
“Chebelley road was in pretty bad shape when we got here,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Toledo Emanuel, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 22 equipment operator and project supervisor. “We are just making it safe for the people who drive here. It’s a lot of movement on this road so we are fixing the grade of it.”
The stretch of road contained numerous potholes, large rocks and other obstacles that drivers had to maneuver around to travel the road.
Each day the battalion placed approximately 32 cubic meters of a gravel and sand mix along an 800-foot stretch and compressed it to three-quarters of an inch thick.
“Once we receive the gravel we spread it with the grater, [evening out the road],” Emanuel said. “Then we use the water truck to water and compact it with a roller. This process usually takes about two hours.”
Petty Officer 1st Class Chris Harris, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion equipment operator, said the process is repeated multiple times down the stretch of road throughout the eight to ten-hour workday creating a noisy, traffic congested and hot environment for the team.
“I’d say roughly a hundred plus vehicles come through here each day,” Harris said. “Also, it’s hot, dusty and loud.”
Emmanuel said with so many factors, safety is a big concern so they set-up cones and traffic signals, as well as provided plenty of water to combat the Djiboutian heat.
The project ended near the Chebelley gate, concluding the battalion’s efforts of improving the road conditions for those who frequently travel.
“This road here should last, with regular maintenance, at least a year,” said Harris “The road is more travelable and is much more comfortable conditions to drive on. “