Cross that bridge


The Sarakata River bridge. One of the most recognisable landmarks in Luganville. Over the years the bridge has been built and rebuilt many times – most notably during World War II.

Base Button was a very big base. In fact, the biggest in the South Pacific. As a result, the amount of vehicular traffic using the bridge – particularly with the huge warehouse and storage facility on the west side – increased dramatically. So much so, a more permanent bridge needed to be constructed.

Once again, thanks to Gina Bardi from the Maritime Research Center and James’ detective work, another book was discovered in the wonderful collection of the Maritime Research Center of the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park.

Although you could hardly call it a book. More of a photographic record of the construction of the Sarakata River bridge in July 1943. In fact the bridge was designed by the 5th Naval Construction Regiment and constructed by the 44th US Naval Construction Battalion (Seabees) in just 4 weeks! Gina has very kindly scanned this book as well and we have great pleasure in presenting some of those scans to you – along with a few others we’ve collected along the way.

Looking towards east bank. July 12, 1943.
Looking south as the pontoon span goes on. July 26, 1943.
Looking towards west bank. August 4, 1943.

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