FORT IRWIN • A six-month construction project to heighten security at Fort Irwin's front entrance begins Monday and will likely cause delays, according to Fort Irwin spokesman John Wagstaffe.
The construction, which is slated to last until mid-February, will result in closing down portions of the entrance lanes and the single exit lane, Wagstaffe said.
Three of the four incoming lanes will be open at all times, according to Maj. Kevin Kreie, director of emergency services. Construction workers will build a new temporary outbound lane when the single exit lane is closed.
People coming on post will probably hit traffic during the peak hours of 6 a.m. to 8 a.m., Wagstaffe noted.
"It would slow up the normal flow a little bit," he said.
To help alleviate congestion, all commercial vehicles — such as semi-trucks and trailers — will not be allowed through the gates during those two hours and will be routed to the truck bypass road until after 8 a.m., Wagstaffe said. Fort officials have attempted to contact all contractors and commercial vehicles that might be impacted, he said.
The project will replace the current gates, which resemble railroad crossing gates that do not meet the Department of Army's standards, to create a more fortified entrance, said Wagstaffe.
The new entrance can help the fort guard against any possible terrorist attacks, Wagstaffe noted.
"Not just terrorists — anyone we wouldn't want on post who have bad intentions," he said.
The new gate will use pop-up obstacles to keep out any unwanted vehicles, Kreie noted.
More 5,000 vehicles pass through the gates daily, according to Kreie.
Fort Irwin has only had one incident in the past 15 years of an attempted security breach at the gate, Wagstaffe said.
A woman who was a family member of someone on post didn't have proper identification and tried to force her way through the gate but was stopped, Wagstaffe said.
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• Leave home early — especially on the first day, Monday.
• Tune in to the fort radio station, 88.3 FM (KNTC), as you near the gate for traffic updates.
• Remember that no commercial vehicles, like trucks and trailers, will be allowed through the gate between 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. (only before and after).