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Manager of ‘Most Dangerous’ Afghan Road Job Dies at 75

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James S. “Jim” Myers, former senior engineer at The Louis Berger Group Inc., Morristown, N.J., whose 40-year career included some of the firm’s toughest global assignments, died on May 13 of natural causes in Northport, Wash. He was 75. Myers held engineering and law degrees and was a certified scuba diver, licensed instrument pilot and marksman. “He was a man of such engineering brilliance, tenacity and dedication, he forever will be a legend at Berger,” says Larry D. Walker, Louis Berger president.

Engineer Myers (left) at memorial to workers killed during an Afghanistan road rehab project he managed.
Photo: Louis Berger Group
Engineer Myers (left) at memorial to workers killed during an Afghanistan road rehab project he managed.
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At age 67 and retired, Myers managed an Afghanistan road-rehab project, awarded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, rebuilding the damaged and neglected 482-kilometer route from Kabul to Kandahar. President George W. Bush had promised the rehab to Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Myers and his crews endured work in a remote location with harsh weather conditions under a tight schedule and heavy political pressure. With local warlords vying with Taliban and Al Qaeda forces for control, kidnap threats were routine, several contracted workers were killed, and an engineer was wounded.

Dubbed “the world’s most dangerous construction project,” the job was completed two weeks early, says Berger. Myers helped train Afghan workers in road building and maintenance techniques. A rock outcropping along the road is named in honor of Myers, who retired in 2007, and he was recognized by Karzai with the country’s highest honor, the Ghazi Mir Masjidi High State Prize.


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