Tatana Island is located inside Fairfax Harbor to the west of Port Moresby.
During the war, there was a need for more deep water anchorages inside Fairfax Harbor. In September 1942, a survey was undertaken to check the feasibility of building a causeway from the mainland to the island.
During late 1942, a causeway was built by the US Army 96th Engineering Battalion (Colored) African American Negro soldiers. Initially, the causeway was wide enough for a single vehicle only. Later, the causeway was expanded to accommodate two lanes for vehicles with a turnaround area. Used to transport cargo unloaded from ships anchoring in deeper water off Tatana Island.
The causeway remains in use continual use to this day.
A Caterpillar advertisement in the Saturday Evening Post February 12, 1944 includes a painting of this causeway under construction with bulldozers and US Army troops and the headline "They Pushed Back The Sea".
Love, War and the 96th Engineers (Colored) by Hyman Samuelson, pages 87-88
"September 15, 1942 - Completed a survey to see whether it is practical to construct a causeway from Tatana Island to the mainland. Tatana has six fathoms of water within 250 feet of its shore and there is a stretch between it and the mainland, about 700 yards, where the water is hardly more than six feet at its deepest. Colonel Mathews' idea may have merit after all. I think I'll try to get permission to make a reconnaissance in an attempt to find deep water, with a deep approach, within 300 feet or so of the mainland. That would eliminate the causeway construction, might mean building approach roads. The most interesting part of the whole survey was the coral reefs and marine life - what beautiful color and shapes!"
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January 11, 2018