157 ARW 'builds bridges' with local community

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Erica Rowe
  • 157th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Members from the 157th Civil Engineering Squadron and the 157th Communications Flight here met with members of the local community at the construction site of the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, June 16.

The group met to discuss the bridge project, best safety practices and the mutual value to members of the New Hampshire Air National Guard and local communities.

"We drive by here every day, so [the goal is to] understand our local community, what's happening and understanding some of the challenges they're facing," said Col. Paul Loiselle, 157th Mission Support Group commander, who organized the site visit for Pease team members. "As part of the New Hampshire National Guard, it's very important for us to integrate with, communicate with, and work with our local community."

The Sarah Mildred Long Bridge, which was built in 1940, provides a link between Maine and New Hampshire, and is the critical back-up route in case of disruption on the Interstate 95 bridge. The construction for the bridge began in the winter of 2015.  

While members from the wing's civil engineering team typically do not participate in constructing bridges, Loiselle, highlighted the value of meeting with partners involved.

"We're trying to understand what they're doing here and how we can take something like their safety record, which is outstanding, given how complicated and complex the work their doing is here, and then how that relates to Pease, and trying to learn from those best practices," He said.

According to Lt. Col. Eugene Mozzoni, 157th CES commander, the construction site has more than 600,000 hours of safety free incidents.

"We don't use concrete construction at Pease, we don't build bridges, but the safety aspect of how they can have 600,000 hours of safety-free incidents, that's an accomplishment, especially with this much heavy equipment, steel and heavy concrete," said Mozzoni. "That's why we're here, to look at the site, see all the cool stuff, and how they are ensuring us that their workers are being safe, and that their construction is a safe site to get this stuff done."

When complete, the new bridge will allow larger ships to access the port and the shipyard. The Sarah Mildred Long Bridge is scheduled to reopen in September 2017.