The Louis Berger Group served as the U.S. Agency for International Development’s implementing partner for the Rehabilitation of Economic Facilities and Services program that ran from 2002 to 2007. For USAID, LBG managed the design and construction of more than 1,500 kilometers of primary, secondary, and urban roads; upgrades to the Kajakai Dam hydropower plant; construction of 93 seismic-IV school and clinic buildings; and the upgrade and repair of five major dam and irrigation systems—all throughout Afghanistan. LBG also completed numerous technical, planning and economic studies, and environmental assessments. Capacity building was a key component of the REFS program, and approximately 75% of LBG’s program staff was comprised of local Afghans.
This program encompassed the reconstruction of Afghanistan’s national Ring Road around the southern half of Afghanistan—the Kabul to Kandahar and Kandahar to Herat highways. Combined, these two roads total more than 1,000 kilometers, of which LBG completed 839 kilometers of roadwork. To complete the reconstruction, LBG supervised the production of approximately 4 million tons of aggregate and 2 million tons of asphalt; total reconstruction of 15 reinforced concrete highway bridges and the rehabilitation of 59 others; construction of more than 3,000 culverts, causeways, and drainage structures; and line striping and associated signage. The construction phase 1 of the all-weather paved Kabul to Kandahar highway was completed in a remarkable 208 days, two weeks ahead of schedule. In addition to the critical work on the Ring Road, LBG provided construction management of 685 kilometers of secondary roads, connecting major population centers throughout Afghanistan to the Ring Road. The improved road network in Afghanistan has dramatically decreased transit times and increased traffic counts, which has spurred economic development along the road corridors, increased trade volume with neighboring countries, and improved access to education and health care. LBG employed Afghan Deputy Resident Engineers and Kabul University student interns in accomplishing the program, and offered a formal training certification program which involved practical on-the-job training as well as classroom instruction.
In 2010 The Louis Berger Group published a book, The Asphalt Ribbon of Afghanistan, on the history and development of the ribbon road in Afghanistan. Preview the book here.
To make a donation to the Mark Humphries Fund and order your copy of the book, visit the Mark Humphries Memorial Fund webpage.