COL CO HIGHWAY 551: HOW MCB-8 BUILT THE FIRST PERMANENT HIGH-SPEED ROAD IN VIETNAM'S I CORPS

A PERMANENT HIGHWAY WAS RECENTLY CONSTRUCTED LINKING HUE, THE ANCIENT IMPERIAL CAPITAL OF VIETNAM, AND A COASTAL PORT SEVEN MILES TO THE NORTH EAST. THIS SEABEE PROJECT WAS CONSIDERED NECESSARY AS A SUPPLY LINK TO PERMANENT LST AND LCU FACILITIES. BECAUSE OF CERTAIN GEOGRAPHIC SIMILARITIES THE ROAD WAS DIVIDED INTO THREE PARTS: (1) THE NARROWEST PART THROUGH A ONE-TIME WEALTHY RESIDENTIAL SUBURB OF HUE, (2) A SECTION PARALLELING A LARGE NAVIGABLE CANAL WITH A DENSE GROWTH OF BANANA TREES AND BAMBOO HUTS ON ITS EASTERN SHOULDER, AND (3) AREAS THROUGH THE RICE PADDIES WHICH REQUIRED AS MUCH AS SIX FEET OF FILL IN MANY AREAS. OVER 20,000 CUBIC YARDS OF DREDGE SAND WAS REQUIRED FOR THE ROADWAY EMBANKMENT THROUGH THE RICE PADDIES. A SIX-INCH SAND LIFT WAS RETAINED UNDER THE SOIL CEMENT OF PART II TO PERMIT WATER RISING THROUGH THE LATERITE SUBGRADE TO DRAIN OFF INSTEAD OF BEING CONFINED BY THE OVERLYING SOIL CEMENT, AND TO PERMIT FLOOD WATERS TO EQUALIZE ON EITHER SIDE OF THE ROAD. THE 3.4 MILES OF SAND FILL ROADWAY IN THE RICE PADDIES COULD NOT BE LEFT EXPOSED TO RAIN AND FLOODS DURING THE MONSOONS. THE TOPSOIL OF THE SURROUNDING RICE PADDIES WAS SPREAD ON THE SLOPES BY DOZERS. THIS WAS COMPACTED WITH A GRIDROLLER AND GRADED TO EXTEND THE SLOPE TO 4 TO 1. THIS PROVIDED THE NECESSARY CONFINING PRESSURE TO GIVE THE SAND THE SHEAR STRENGTH REQUIRED FOR DESIGNED LOADS. VARIOUS TYPES OF CEMENT SPREADERS WERE TRIED, BUT NONE WORKED SATISFACTORILY. OVER 100 VIETNAMESE LABORERS WERE CONTRACTED TO PERFORM MANUAL LABOR ON THE ROAD, AND MANY OF THESE ASSISTED IN BAG LAYING AND BREAKING. LACK OF LOCAL ROCK DEPOSITS PRESENTED THE PROBLEM OF OBTAINING 57,000 TONS OF 21/2 INCH BASE ROCK. ROCK WAS BARGED FROM DANANG. PART 1 IS COMPLETELY PAVED, PART II AND III'S SIX-INCH BASE COURSE IS COMPLETED AND ONLY PAVING AND FINISH SLOPE WORK REMAINS.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Vol 9, No 10, PP M-10, 29, 7 PHOT
  • Authors:
    • Schroeder, J A
  • Publication Date: 1968-10

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  • Accession Number: 00215184
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 7 1994 12:00AM