By Spc. Bailey Jester, 1st Bde. Public Affairs, 1st Cav. Div. October 11, 2011
COS ECHO, Iraq -- As vehicles drove down Highway 1, they didn't expect to be required to cross the median onto the other side of the highway.
The Iraqi Highway Patrol posted their vehicle on the road to prevent the passing of cars, and to show a strong presence for the local populace.
Starting Sept. 15, the IHP and the 380th Engineer Support Company, started an 11-day route sanitation mission to clear the road of old concrete debris, dirt piles, trash debris at least 10-meters from the road.
"This allows [Coalition Forces and U.S. Forces] freedom of mobility on [Highway 1], and to deny the enemy emplacement opportunities," explained 1st Lt. Elizabeth Fox, assigned to the 380th ESC, and the officer in charge of the route sanitation.
Clearing this area also prevents unwanted accidents for local Iraqi drivers.
The route sanitation mission took place in the Diwaniyah province, which is currently the 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division's area of operations.
"Providing mobility on [Highway 1] will help to make the road safe in the draw down process for both [Coalition and U.S forces]," Fox continued.
After arriving on the site, the crew downloaded the equipment and started clearing the road.
There were five different types of vehicles that were used to complete their mission; a track vehicle, the D7 Dozer, two scoop loaders, a 5-yard Scoop Loader and a High Mobility Engineer Excavator.
First, the track vehicle flattened the land next to the road, followed by the scoops which cleared the road of the dirt and debris that flowed onto the road.
As the engineers cleared the road, the IHP dismounted their truck and began directing traffic. Using hand and arm signals, they kept the oncoming traffic on the parallel highway and out of the way.
They also stopped oncoming cars, showing a physical presence, and letting the local population know that they can pass only with IHP permission.
"The mission was a success," Fox concluded. "We were able to clear a good amount of debris on both the southbound and northbound sides of the road in the entire Area of Operation for [the Stallions].