Bridge six on Song Rai DPR/TV/1423

Accession Number F04512
Collection type Film
Measurement 8 min 18 sec
Object type Actuality footage, Television news footage
Physical description 16mm/b&w/silent
Maker Errington, William Alexander (Bill)
Place made Vietnam: Phuoc Tuy Province
Date made 14 July 1971
Access Open
Conflict Vietnam, 1962-1975
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC

Australian engineers are rapidly completing one of the biggest engineering projects in Phuoc Tuy Province, South Vietnam...the construction of a 120-foot steel and concrete bridge over the Song Rai River in the south-east of the Province. Members of 17 Construction Squadron have been working on the bridge, on Route 23 between the provincial towns of Dat Do and Xuyen Moc, since May. At present all traffic must use an old Bailey bridge laid by United States troops after Viet Cong destroyed the original structure some years ago. The old bridge was showing signs of continual use by heavy traffic and is in need of replacement. Captain Bob Summerville of Greenacres, Sydney, NSW, is in charge of the project and commands 45 men on the site including a section of armoured personnel carriers, two mine clearing teams, surveyors and plant operators. The bridge builders work on the site during the day and man night defensive position "Susan" at night. Forming the main structure of the bridge are seven huge 80-foot girders that provide the centre span of the bridge. The engineers build these from single 40-foot spans and two 20-foot lengths, welding the girders on the work site. Two big cranes pick up the 19,000 pound girder and lower it onto two trucks which drive slowly on to the old Bailey Bridge. The cranes again pick up the girder and lower it into position on the concrete abutments. While the main girders are being lowered into position work goes on around the site preparing other girders and painting the huge lengths of metal with rust resistant paint. The project, even in its early stages has not been easy. Before the engineers could begin work on the site they had to fill the surrounding area with 9000 cubic yards of rock to bring the work site above flood level. Eleven piles support the bridge on each side and one of the first driven struck an old pile from the original Vietnamese bridge. The engineers had to use explosives to destroy it before they could continue. Interested spectators are the group of Regional Force soldiers who man the small RF post on the bridge. They provide additional cover and protection as the Australian engineers complete another step in the program to improve roads in Phuoc Tuy Province. Also identified: 5717420 Sapper (Spr) Eddie (Ed) Leeflang of Perth, WA; 2794254 Spr Walter Alexander (Wal) Mills of Maitland, NSW; 1736835 Spr Edwin William (Ed) Christian of Brisbane, Qld; 5717409 Spr Gregory Thomas (Greg) Hosking of Kalgoorlie, WA; 5716213 Lieutenant William George (Bill) Carlton of South Perth, WA; WO2 Don Smith of Auckland, NZ; 37833 Corporal Lindsay Ernest Simpson of Redcliffe, Vic.

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