Tatana Island is located inside Fairfax Harbor. To the southeast is Hanuabada (Hanuada) and Port Moresby (Town). To the northwest is Motukea Island and to the west across the harbor is Napa Napa.
During late 1942, the U. S. Army needed more deep water anchorages in Fairfax Harbor to unload Liberty Ships and cargo vessels. By September 1942, a survey was undertaken to check the feasibility of building a causeway from the mainland to Tatana island.
In late 1942, a causeway was built by the U. S. 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. This causeway was used to transport cargo unloaded from liberty ships off Tatana Island.
By December 1942, a Liberty Ship wharf was constructed on the far side of the island, connected by road to the causeway.
The causeway remains in use continual use to this day.
Saturday Evening Post February 12, 1944 Caterpillar advertisement includes a painting of this causeway under construction using bulldozers and U. S. Army troops with 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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October 23, 2019