U.S. Army unveils new inflatable bridge

Col. Scott Thomas
Col. Scott Thomas

By Roger Mari - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - The U.S. Army has developed a new way of "Spanning the Distance." It's called the Light Weight Modular Causeway System.

It can be used during wars and in combat, but a demonstration Monday shows the Causeway's effectiveness during humanitarian missions.

This prototype inflatable bridge system takes a fraction of the time it takes to construct a permanent bridge. It can be used to transport supplies during natural disasters.

"It took us just under three hours to employ this 120 feet, that was to get it out, into the water and anchored ashore and ready to roll vehicles across," said U.S. Army Colonel Scott Thomas.

The causeway can be transported by air or on ships. Everything to set it up, from the floatation bladders to the 10-foot sections are on board, and can be assembled by as few as seven people.

"Without too much human intervention pieces together each one of those ten foot by 20 foot causeway sections, pins it and rotates it out over the water," said Thomas.

Made primarily of shipyard aluminum, and stainless steel, the causeway can withstand 20 foot waves and heavy vehicles.

"We can carry up to a main battle tank 80 tons on this causeway," said Thomas.

The price tag for one of these is just over $9 million.

"Having this capability to be able to respond to humanitarian assistance or disaster relief missions really makes it a lucrative capability for what it will cost," said Thomas.

It's a new way for our military to help protect our nation and help those in need of assistance.

The project took four years to complete, within the next two years the causeway will be shipped to the Korean Peninsula to be demonstrated as a bridge and to gap rivers.