Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Al Mamoon new $22.7 million telecommunications center taking shape in Baghdad

Wednesday, October 03, 2007
“It represents the heart of Baghdad’s telecommunications system and will allow Iraq to connect to the world,” says an Iraqi engineer overseeing construction of the $22.7 million Al Mamoon Exchange and Telecommunications Center.

Currently the project is 27 percent complete and is scheduled to open next February. Mohammad Abdula, a lifelong resident of Baghdad, says phone service in Baghdad is available locally allowing residents to call those in their immediate neighborhood. “But unless you use a cell phone, you can’t call friends and family on the other side of the Tigris River or to other cities in Iraq. This facility is the first step in restoring and improving phone service here.” He looks forward to the day when Iraqis can make international calls using their home phones as well as connecting to the internet.

The new facility will include a seven-story structure that will house communication switch gear and telecommunication offices. It will also include a 1300 sq. meter post office, a loading dock for delivery trucks, a 250-car covered garage, and a cafeteria capable of serving 150 people. Currently 175 Iraqi construction workers are employed at the site. The contractor has his own concrete plant capable of producing 90 cubic meters of concrete per hour.

“The old Al Mamoon tower is a landmark known throughout Iraq. This new structure will provide reliable communications and be a focal point for the City of Baghdad. Architecturally, it’s a signature project that all Iraqis can look to with pride.”

Abdula is working with Ministry of Communications officials who will take ownership of the facility when finished. “They’re anxious to move in,” he noted. “They know what this facility means to Iraq.”

Abdula, who earned a civil engineering degree from Baghdad University, has been working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for three years and is currently overseeing 16 projects.

He’s part of USACE’s Baghdad Area Office that is currently managing over 100 projects valued at nearly $400 million including new water and sewer lines, electrical distribution networks, road paving, hospital renovations, and new courthouses.

(From press release #071003-2, MNF-I and written by Norris Jones, a Public Affairs Specialist with the Gulf Region Central District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Iraq)

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