During the 1960s, the Cold War pitted the Soviet Union against the United States in a struggle for geopolitical power. Conflicts developed around the world between communist and capitalist ways of life. At the same time, former colonies worldwide began to gain independence, and with that, the need to develop basic infrastructure and institutional systems.
In 1959, Louis Berger undertook its first international assignment, assisting in the rehabilitation of 700 kilometers of the Rangoon-Mandalay Road in Burma. Building on this experience and the entrepreneurial spirit embodied by its founder, the company began working Nigeria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Thailand and Indonesia during the 1960s. To complement its engineering practice and provide more holistic solutions to global problems, Louis Berger formed the development economics group, the precursor to today’s integrated development practice, which combines social and economic improvements with physical infrastructure upgrades.
- 1961: Louis Berger began conducting feasibility studies, preparing designs and providing construction supervision for the 210-kilometer Calabar–Ikom Road, often referred to as the “Highway of Progress,” and the Calabar Cross River Bridge in Nigeria.
- 1964: Louis Berger prepared a detailed feasibility study for a 965-kilometer road project in East Pakistan (modern-day Bangladesh).
- 1965: Louis Berger began assisting in the upgrading of Brazil’s BR-2, an important route between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.
- 1968: Louis Berger began providing transportation consulting services to the Government of Indonesia, preparing a five-year transportation sector plan, establishing a national transportation data bank and developing transportation policies.
- 1968: Louis Berger assisted in the development of a master transportation plan for the Amazon Valley in Brazil. The plan included analysis of current and anticipated transportation demand, as well as of agricultural and industrial development in the region.