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Gate changes improve traffic flow at Andrews

By C. Todd Lopez

ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE, Md. (April 05, 2007) -- Changes to the entry gates at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., will improve traffic flow and make it easier for security forces Airmen there to implement anti-terrorism and force protection measures.

The Andrews Air Force Base 316th Wing Civil Engineer and Security Forces squadrons have worked together for the last two years to improve security at three of the base's gates and to optimize traffic flow. The cost of the improvements are about $18 million dollars, said Larry Carson, the deputy base civil engineer at Andrews.

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"The gate projects will increase the traffic flow capacity at the gates, while enhancing our ability to make anti-terrorism inspections," he said. "The improvements also provide security forces squadron Airmen with protection from the weather and extreme elements."

Four gates at Andrews have changes scheduled over the next two to three weeks. Those gates include the Main Gate, the North Gate, the Virginia Gate and the new Pearl Harbor Commercial Gate.

The base's Main Gate, at the intersection of Allentown Road and Suitland Road, will close April 23, until completion of construction in August. The gate, upon reopening, will be for personally-owned vehicles only. The base Visitor Center, located at the Main Gate, will remain open during the gate closure. Visitors to Andrews AFB can still go to the Main Gate, complete paperwork at the Visitor Center, then drive back off the base and enter at another gate. During the closure of the Main Gate, the new roads built for the facility will be connected to existing, older roads.

Main Gate improvements include upgrades of roads, drainage, lighting and traffic control. Also included are a random inspection canopy area, permanent security watch stations, a new Visitor Control Center and a four-lane identification-check station.

The base's Virginia Gate, at the intersection of Old Alexander Ferry Road and Virginia Avenue, will open April 16 to POV traffic only. The gate will be open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Beginning April 23, the gate will remain open 24 hours a day.

Improvements to the Virginia Gate include a new identification card check station, a permanent security watch station, and lighting and infrastructure changes. Also included are two inbound lanes and two outbound lanes.

The base's North Gate, near the intersection of Suitland Parkway and Pennsylvania Avenue, will implement one-way entry or exit during rush hours beginning April 16. The gate will serve POV traffic only. Between the hours of 6 and 9 a.m., traffic can enter the base at the North Gate. From 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., traffic can exit the base. Beginning April 23, the gate will again change operating procedures. At that time, traffic can travel both directions full time. The gate will also remain open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

The Pearl Harbor Gate, near the intersection of Pearl Harbor Drive and Dower House Road, will open April 16 to commercial traffic only. The gate remains open 24 hours a day. Improvements at the gate allow for a doubling of commercial traffic onto the base. At the same time, improvements allow for increased security checks of all traffic.

Also new during the closure of the Main Gate, is a "pedestrian gate" located near the West Gate by the 316th Wing Headquarters building. The gate is located near a public transportation stop outside the base, and will allow individuals who have come to Andrews AFB by city bus to enter the base. The gate operating hours will be 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. until the reopening of the Main Gate.

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