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~ Kathy M.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Agana Bridge in Guam: 1945 - 2011

Update to this story:  July 13, 2014

This is so cool. Back in 2011, I wrote this blog post about when my husband Cary's father, Troy Matthews, was in the Navy CBs during WWII and helped to build the Agana Bridge in Guam.

The bridge was being rebuilt in 2011, and the Public Works Department in Guam asked if they could use Troy's photos, and Cary and his Mom said sure. A couple of days ago, I received these photos in an email:

This is what the email said:

 "Hafa Adai Ms. Matthews,

Thank you for allowing the Department of Public Works for using your photos for display.

I've attached two new photos for your records. The first photo is of the bridge now.

The second shows the bridge construction (1945), which includes a photo of your father, Troy (IMG_3986) displayed at the Agana bridges ribbon cutting ceremony yesterday, July 9 with some very distinguished guests.

(IMG_3986) L-R Captain Philip Old, Director of the Joint Program Office, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy; The Honorable Eddie Baza Calvo, Governor of Guam; Mr. Carl Dominguez, Director of the Guam Department of Public Works; Captain Glen Shephard, Commanding Officer of the Naval Facilities Engineer Command Marianas and Ms. Richelle Takara, Territorial Representative of the Federal Highway Administration.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact me or Monica via email or in the information below. Thank you again and have a wonderful day!"

Thank you!  We are so proud to have been part of this.

Original Story, February  2011:

I have shown some of these photos to you before, but have just gotten some new information about them, and decided to do a bit of research of my own and share them with you again.  On other posts, I showed several Guam pictures that my father-in-law took and grouped them all together.  A reader of Oregon Gifts, Mr. Martin Deinhart, spotted one of those posts and focused on the building of the Agana bridge.  Martin sent me this email the other day:

"This week there was an article in the local Guam paper indicating that the Agana bridge--which your father-in-law worked on--was going to be be rebuilt.  According to the article the present day bridge is the same one from 65 years ago.  (I guarantee the next bridge will will not last 65 years.) Attached is a photo and map from the newspaper article."   Martin Deinhart 

Thank you, Martin, for that very interesting information and for inspiring me to do this post!  (If you enjoy this post, I know that you will enjoy this one too: 1945 WW2 Guam Pictures of The Navy Seebees

So, do you guys remember this handsome young man?  If you don't, he is my father-in-law, Troy Matthews. (It has been four years ago this month since Troy has gone on to be with the Lord.):

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

During WW2, Troy was stationed in Guam as a Navy Seabee.  When he was there, he helped build the Agana Bridge.  In the photo below, Troy is the one with his hand on the cement lever.  This photo was taken on February 20, 1945:

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

Here is a photo after the bridge was completed, taken on March 23, 1945:
 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

This next part is what I copied and pasted from the article that Martin was telling us about.  The text and photos are all from The Pacific News:

Link to the article from The Pacific News in Guam:

Stumbling block: Vehicles travel across the Agana Bridge next to the Paseo Loop in this Sept. 17, 2010 file photo. A replacement project for the bridge is expected to cause heavy road congestion and also could complicate buildup projects.

Replacement needed: Vehicles travel across the Agana Bridge just north of the Paseo Loop in this September 2010 file photo. A project to replace the bridge with a sturdier one will start this year, but could cause problems for buildup projects. (Pacific Daily News file photo.) 

"One of the largest logistical challenges the military buildup will face will be the Agana Bridge.

Roadwork in Hagåtña and replacement of the bridge threatens to hamper progress and delivery of supplies, said the commanding officer for Naval Facilities Engineering Command.

Capt. Peter Lynch -- one of the primary players in the Civil-Military Coordination Council -- earlier this month said the bridge replacement project could complicate the transfer of containers from the port in Piti to military and construction projects in northern Guam.

The council will have to ensure roadwork and the transfer of buildup supply shipments are coordinated, Lynch said, or buildup projects could stumble over each other.

"That's where the (Civil-Military Coordination Council ) is helpful," Lynch said. "You cross-pollinate these ideas, issues and decisions that have already been made, and figure out how they're going to work out. And then you have the opportunity to come back and revise before anything has actually happened."

The Defense Department created the council last year in reaction to concerns that buildup projects needed to be sequenced intelligently. The council has been on hiatus since October, but is scheduled to meet again on Feb. 10.

Lynch said expansion at the Port and road construction in Hagåtña, both of which threaten to impact the flow of cargo, are two of the biggest issues the council will have to tackle this year.

The roadwork in Hagåtña is federally funded. It includes the replacement of two bridges that pass over the Agana River and improvements to the intersection of Marine Corps Drive and Route 8. The Agana Bridge, a 65-year-old structure on Marine Corps Drive immediately north of Paseo Loop, will have to be destroyed and rebuilt.

According to Pacific Daily News files, design work will start in June and physical work could start by December. The project won't be complete until December 2014. For most of that time, at least two lanes of Marine Corps Drive will be closed."

If you want to continue your research on this topic, you can get started with some links that I have found.  I might expand on this post and write a whole article on the Agana Bridge someday soon.  I think that it is so interesting that Troy helped build it, that I scanned and posted those photos, that Martin found them and sent me info about the rebuilding of the bridge.  It sure is a small world, isn't it?

If you enjoyed this post, I think that you will really like this related one: Troy's WW2 Guam Photos

At Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy, if you miss a day, you miss a lot!  All material on this post is copyrighted and not for use without my permission ...Please click here to go to my home page and see what is happening in Mayberry today.
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Unknown said...

Hafa Adai from Guam,

My name is Zita Taitano and I'm a reporter for the Marianas Variety newspaper on Guam. I wrote a story recently about the Agana Bridge and the impact it would have on the island during its reconstruction. I am writing a follow up story about the bridge because of its history and also because there are archaeological sites in the area if not from WWII but from a thousand years ago. I was wondering if I could use the photo on your website for the story I'm writing. I will reference the site in the photo caption. If you have any questions, you can email me at or

Thank you so much for you time. I look forward in hearing from you.

Anonymous said...

Hey Kathy - This is really cool. Thanks for sharing!

Lynn said...

Hi Kathy, very cool story and I love the old photos. I'm gathering old photos from all the relatives that served in the military. I plan to write you a letter soon. Hope all is well!

Connie said...

Hi Kathy, very interesting post.
My oldest brother was engineering the building of an airstrip on an island about 200 miles south of Guam called Yap. This was back in 1977. We were planning on moving there and Steve was getting ready to send in his paper work for employment on the construction team when we got word of my brothers death. I've always had a curiosity for that part of the world and island life. My brother absolutely loved it there :)
Thanks for sharing your father-in-law's story and yes he was a very handsome young sailor :)
Your blogging sister, Connie :)

Little Nell said...

How exciting!

KathyB. said...

This is very interesting, and yes, your father-in-law was certainly handsome !

My daughter married a Guamanian and her 4 children have one whole side of their family history in Guam,. I can tell you the Guamanians I know ( many ) value their heritage and also their ties to mainland U.S.A. It is good to read a bit of history about Guam, thanks !

BTW, I have been an infrequent blogger , and worse, a very infrequent commenter , but love getting back to reading my favorite blogs, yours is one.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kathy, What an interesting follow-up to your post from 3 years ago! I had never heard of 'Guam', so I had to look it up on the Internet. It is so special to find traces of your family in such a remote place. Thanks for sharing.
Hugs, Prenter.

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