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  • Transportation Department partners with Marines on road efforts

    Pima County Department of Transportation’s partnership with the U.S. Marine Corps continued in June, with County staff assisting in road construction and repair training efforts. 

    The goal of training exercises with the Marines Reserve unit was to assist in teaching the techniques used to construct new unpaved roads and repair existing ones in under challenging conditions, plus training in construction surveying and earth-movement operations. 

    The training also gave Marine officers and non-commissioned officers the opportunity to plan and execute a mission. Experience in construction scheduling and control also was a goal of this training. 
    DOT and Marines
    This latest round of training was a testing phase, with reservists’ applying the techniques they have learned while working independently but with PCDOT supervision. 

    Working with Pima County Department of Transportation, the Marines gained practical experience in the following: 
    • Training in operation of heavy equipment 
    • Grading an existing dirt roadway 
    • Construction of a containment berm for 50,000-gallon fuel bladder
    • Surveying of a new dirt road and earthen flood-control berm using design plans with survey coordinates
    • Generation of earthen materials to construct flood-control berm 
    • Repairing battle-damaged site to prepare for roadway grading
    • Construct dirt road 
    “This is a great partnership where our armed forces get practical experience,” said Deputy County Administrator Carmine DeBonis. “This partnership not only helps the Marines, but provides a resource for County residents.” 

    Previously, during scheduled “drill weekends” over the past nine months, numerous two-mile sections of Santa Rita Road were graded and repaired as well as a three-mile section of Silverbell Road northwest of Marana. 


    As part of the training operations, Heavy Equipment Marines regraded a section of County road and constructed an unpaved roadway. The first, a two-mile stretch of Santa Rita Road near Sahuarita, was graded and repaired. The second project had Marine reservists building a new section of dirt roadway on the southeast side off of Houghton Road. The road they built leads into a vacant section of desert PCDOT uses for material storage.  Marines also built an 850-foot earthen flood control berm along the Pantano Wash. 

    The partnership between the County and the Marines, an Innovative Readiness Training (IRT), will provide for joint training exercises four times a year, where the Marines train executing road and drainage maintenance techniques. 

    The Marines who participated in the training have received instruction in the use of heavy construction equipment at their Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) school at Ft. Leonard Wood in Missouri. The training has been a successful, win-win opportunity for both parties. 

    A second year of training has been planned. 
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