HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Two new lanes are being added to Redstone Arsenal's main gate for to improve traffic flow.
Gate 9 is the installation's busiest gate and sees half of the workforce travel its lanes every day.
It will soon undergo construction to add a seventh and eighth lane for inbound traffic.
"We're always looking for ways to make traffic on the arsenal more efficient. What we've done so far is we've moved Gate 9 back about three quarters of a mile. This gives our commuters a more safe environment in the morning. When we built Gate 9, we made it expandable so we're going to go ahead and expand it now during the summer with two additional lanes. This will allow more traffic to come through Gate 9 in a more safe and timely manner," explained Chris Colster, Redstone Arsenal Garrison spokesman.
Commuters often experience congestion at the access point, especially in the morning. Sometimes, traffic backs up all the way to I-565.
"This will give us two more thru lanes here at Gate 9. When we add or subtract a lane anywhere on the arsenal, it can have an impact throughout the entire Tennessee Valley. Once we add these two lanes, we're going to take a look at the rest of the gates as well because some of them will be less traveled. So we can adjust those and make them more efficient as well but our main effort is always Gate 9," Colster added.
Plans are underway to create the two additional lanes, extend the canopy, furnish two additional guard booths and construct the necessary road additions around the inbound gate.
Officials say some of the challenges from the last construction period will not be an issue this time around because the need to have continuous by-pass lanes is not required.
"This effort won't be as bad as the last time when we built Gate 9 because we already have the roadway in place and the cars can continue to drive through. However, we will have to close the far right lane, lane 6, in order to allow the workers some space," Colster stated.
The ability to turn south from Goss Road will not be affected and drivers will not have to go through the old gate house.
The addition of two lanes will require more gate guard staffing and plans for that are already in the works, according to operations officials.
During the construction phase, there will be short intervals when lane 5 will be impacted. Lane 6 will be closed completely as soon as the work begins.
"We're in planning and design stages right now. The plan is to get it going by June and have it done by the end of the year. Of course, that's always dependent on the weather," Colster said. "Please be patient, please be aware. Be safe and slow when you come through the gate."
At restaurants near the arsenal, people applauded the decision to expand the gate in an effort to cut down on traffic at and around Gate 9.
"I don't come over to the arsenal much but just coming over this way, it was difficult to get in," one woman said. "I think it's a very good idea."
Funding is coming from several different entities, according to Colster. He described it as a joint effort by Team Redstone and its community partners.
"They contributed money, manpower, land and resources so that the Redstone Arsenal and Huntsville area could be safer," he added.
Copyright 2018 WAFF. All rights reserved.