MANAMA, Bahrain - A tied arch bridge, known as the flyover bridge, was moved into place over the Khalifa Bin Salman Causeway connecting Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain to the U.S. Navy port facility (NSA II), Jan. 30.

The 122.5 meter long, 21.4 meter high, 2,650 metric ton bridge was constructed on NSA II, then driven across the causeway on self-propelled modular trailers, and set in place on pre-constructed abutments. The greatest benefit of this process was that Bahrain traffic was only disrupted for hours as opposed to months it would have taken to build the bridge in place.

"Our goal was to ensure there was no negative impact on the Government of Bahrain's utility corridor," said Mark Wittrock, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project leader. "Additionally we did not want Bahrain to have to reroute commercial traffic."

Wittrock said the causeway is a major corridor for commercial and private vehicles. Any major detour would have resulted in an economic loss to local businesses, as well as a marked increase in traffic on other highways and secondary roads.

The bridge will reduce transit time from 30 minutes to 10 minutes, which will decrease response times for emergency services. The NSA Bahrain Public Works Dept. will have an approximate 60 percent reduction in service call response time.

Another benefit is the cost savings by reducing the NSA Bahrain vehicle fleet by 10 percent, which will save more than $500,000 annually. NSA Bahrain will also eliminate the shuttle bus service contract between the two bases saving an additional $130,000 a year.

"NSA Bahrain has significantly expanded with the ongoing construction of our port facility," said Capt. David J. Meron, commanding officer of NSA Bahrain. "This bridge will make it possible for emergency vehicles, pedestrians, and electric carts to quickly and easily transit between facilities, enhancing our ability to support our tenant commands, their missions, and ongoing operations.

The bridge project began in August 2012 and is scheduled to be completed in August 2014. The work on the bridge is being overseen by Naval Facilities Engineering Command Europe Africa Southwest Asia, headquartered in Naples, Italy. The executing agent is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

NSA Bahrain occupies 137 acres of land in Juffair, and hosts more than 90 tenant commands, including U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet. It is the primary naval base supporting regional maritime operations in the Arabian Gulf.