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YESTERDAY was just an average day for construction workers at the Hagåtña Bridge project until they stumbled upon a World War II-era ordnance.
According to Greg Niemasz, project manager of Parsons Transportation Group, workers unearthed a 4.5-inch barrage/bombardment rocket at about 10:30 a.m. yesterday. The Navy’s Explosive Ordnance Unit Five from Naval Magazine was immediately called.
Guam Police Department personnel arrived just before 10:45 a.m. and closed off the traffic intersection of Route 1 and 4 and also Route 1 and 8. Motorists were then advised to take alternate routes.
As a precaution, the contractor dug around the area where the rocket was found to make sure there weren’t any other rockets.
Niemasz said it’s the first time this type of incident occurred at the project site.
One thing noticeable was that the EOD personnel weren’t using protective gear as they retrieved the rocket at about 11:14 a.m.
“The fusing apparatus was rusted and rendered inoperable. Thus, they were able to determine it wasn’t a threat,” Niemasz said.
The road was opened 15 minutes later and operations resumed at site.
Department of Public Works Director Joanne Brown expressed her gratitude on the quick response of those involved in handling the found ordnance.
“It is imperative that safety procedures are engaged immediately when the safety of our motorists and crew are at risk," Brown said. "The effectiveness of all the agencies working collaboratively toward the safe and efficient removal of the ordnance found is to be commended.”
Meanwhile, the discovery of the rocket appears to be just one of the challenges facing the Parsons Transportation Group.
Niemasz said other challenges include driving piles and concrete shafts to the bottom of the riverbed.
“That’s what the bridge actually will sit on and there’s a 35-year-old
sewer line that’s very close to where the piles are being driven. They’ve had to take extraordinary precaution and work with GWA to make sure that the line is protected and would not fail from the vibration of the pile driving,” he said.
CoreTech is overseeing the $16.4 million renovation and rehabilitation of the Hagåtña Bridges. It is jointly funded by the Department of Defense and the Federal Highway Administration. Expected date of completion is Spring 2014.