"Everything in Iraq has been affected by the security situation; our work is not immune," said Bechtel spokesman Francis Canavan, from Baghdad, stressing that the overall timetable for repairs has not been affected by the recent surge of attacks.
From the beginning of Iraq's reconstruction, looting and sabotage have driven up the effort's multibillion-dollar cost and slowed an effort already measured in years.
Now insurgents are trying to shoot or kidnap reconstruction workers and their guards.
Observers say that will further delay repairs that Iraqis complain have taken far too long.
Despite the violence, Bechtel and government representatives say most work has continued. But the threats workers face -- from mortar attacks to roadside ambushes -- have forced companies to adapt.
"It depends on how long these problems will last," said Tom Wheelock, infrastructure director for the U.S. Agency for International Development.
When Fallujah erupted in anti-American violence late last month, conditions grew so dangerous that many non-Iraqi workers and engineers couldn't venture outside their offices and fortified compounds, Wheelock said. Since then, the attacks have eased.
"It's gone down," said Wheelock, on the phone from Baghdad. "Are we out of the woods yet? I'm not sure."
They too have been threatened by the insurgents, but Iraqi engineers have a far easier time than their Western counterparts moving from one site to another without attracting attention.
After insurgents killed and mutilated four security guards in Fallujah on March 31 and abducted Halliburton employees on April 9, several reconstruction companies responded by keeping some of their people out of the country.
Bechtel has moved employees around its five Iraq work camps as well as its offices in Jordan and Kuwait. Canavan said, however, that safety was just one of the reasons.
Bechtel's caution with its people has paid off. Although the company won't discuss security matters, just two deaths have been reported in its work crew so far.
Halliburton, in contrast, has lost more than 30 employees or subcontractors in Iraq during the past year.
Iraq's electricity minister told the Associated Press that Siemens pulled most of its people from the country earlier this month. A company spokeswoman would not comment directly on that report Thursday but said the company remained committed to Iraq's reconstruction.
"Some of the projects that we have been involved in, there have been delays because of the security measures we've put in place," said Gary Sheffer, the company's general manager for public affairs. "But we're continuing to work with our customers to get those contracts done."