One step toward a rebuilt Iraq

A contractor has reached a small, but important milestone in the effort to rebuild Iraq. San Francisco’s Bechtel Corp. recently paved a two-mile, four lane highway 185 miles west of Baghdad. It is the first project completed under Bechtel’s $680 million contract to repair Iraq’s roads, waterworks and electrical lines. Bypassing a bridge nearly toppled in the war, the new pavement eliminates a bottleneck on the only highway connecting Baghdad and Jordan, a key conduit of aid that has become one of the most dangerous roads in the country. The road was built mostly by Iraqis—who worked seven days a week in 110-degree heat.