June 18 Commander's Action Line

Q: Can contractors use just the far-right lane when they come through the main gate to reduce traffic bottlenecks?

A: Thank you for your suggestion. There are a number of things to consider with regard to searching contractors at the front gate: safety of our gate guards and drivers, security of the base, accessibility for emergency vehicles, and ease of access for the general base population. With all the new construction happening on base and the increase of our base population, the front gate is indeed getting more congested during our rush hours. We are currently designing a future project to improve our security configuration and reengineer how traffic flows through the front gate. In the meantime, we are testing and implementing many procedures to ease periodic congestion.

First, your suggestion did prompt us to remove the barriers and open three lanes at the front gate during the lunch hour rush to help traffic flow faster. Second, Security Forces launched a study on our ability to handle all commercial vehicle searches at the Portales gate which will free all lanes of main gate traffic ID checks. Additionally, your letter prompted us to conduct a week-long study to evaluate traffic wait times at the gate in the morning.

As you stated, there were delays but during the study week, delays were caused by factors not associated with the contractor search lane. Unauthorized visitors and a semi truck trying to enter the front gate vice the commercial gate prompted a traffic hold until these vehicles could be turned around. The study also showed that wait times, except in instances described above, were less than two minutes, once we implemented three open lanes during peak hours.

Because we need to balance safety and manpower requirements with the results of our traffic study, we will not move vehicle inspections to lane 3, because we cannot sustain this operation throughout the day. During non peak hours when manpower allows only two lanes open, a search in lane 3 would require commercial traffic to navigate through two lanes of tightly space barriers. Furthermore, switching inspections lanes throughout the day would likely cause a lot of confusion, and is unlikely to streamline traffic flow.

Again, thanks for your suggestion. It prompted us to remove the barriers during the lunch hour rush and launch our study of moving all commercial searches to the Portales gate.