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February 24, 2012

News

Installation access limited to Main Gate, Gate 20, effective March 1

Story & photo by Rob Schuette, Public Affairs Staff

Beginning Thursday, March 1, access to the cantonment area at Fort McCoy will be limited to the Main Gate and Gate 20.

Fort McCoy Chief of Police Rob Stapel said the action reflects the current traffic situation with the elimination of the mobilization and demobilization mission, as well as the fiscal reality of reduced budgets.
PHOTO: Officer Larry Huissen of the Fort McCoy Directorate of Emergency Services Police Department interacts with a motorist at the Main Gate. Photo by Rob Schuette
Officer Larry Huissen of the Fort McCoy Directorate of Emergency Services Police Department interacts with a motorist at the Main Gate.

The Main Gate will be open 24/7 for all incoming and outgoing traffic. Stapel said Gate 20 will be open from 5 a.m.-5 p.m. daily for incoming motorists with common access cards or authorized business credentials. Motorists can leave the post from either gate. Motorists and adult passengers entering the gates still must show photo identification, generally a common access card or a state driver’s license.

“We did an assessment of traffic coming through the gates and determined this was our best option to meet our mission requirements and Department of the Army requirements,” Stapel said. “We don’t expect the new gate hours and closings will have an impact on traffic flow and cause significant delays. Right now, there was just no justification to keep Gates 5 and 15 open and commit the staffing that it would require.”

Motorists entering Fort McCoy can help ensure a smooth traffic flow, he said. The Main Gate will have two lanes open. Vehicles approaching from the west (Sparta) are encouraged to use the west lane (closest to their lane of entry) while vehicles approaching from the east (Tomah) are encouraged to use the east lane when entering the installation. This will help reduce cross traffic and vehicles turning in front of other vehicles, Stapel said.

The new process will allow the Directorate of Emergency Services (DES) Police Department to schedule personnel in the most-appropriate and budget-friendly manner to ensure maximum safety, protection and security is maintained on the installation, he said.

“If we require additional personnel on the gates to ensure a good traffic flow, we will have that option,” Stapel said. “We will continue to assess our needs at the gates based on the traffic loads we get.”

Commercial or business vehicles registered in the RAPIDGate program and motorists with common access cards also can come in through Gate 20, he said. This access point, which is located east of the Main Gate, also will be a good choice of entrance for authorized motorists coming from the east (Tomah direction). Visitors will continue to access the cantonment area through the Main Gate. From 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays, they will be routed to the Vehicle (Visitor) Control Center, building 35, before being allowed onto the installation.

Another factor that has helped disperse the traffic, reduce peak-time congestion and has facilitated good traffic flow is the fact many directorates now stagger their workday. Stapel said many members of the work force now begin work from 5 to 6 a.m. and consequently leave by 3 p.m.

“We don’t anticipate changing any of the traffic routes on post to accommodate the new traffic patterns caused by the new gate hours and closures,” Stapel said. “Motorists who travel to J Street may expect to encounter heavier traffic than before.”

Stapel said police can make adjustments as necessary to accommodate increased traffic, such as during an exercise or heavy periods of extended combat training. Members of the Fort McCoy work force also will be kept informed via postwide e-mail notification or information posted on the Fort McCoy Corporate Network or the Fort McCoy Extranet.

For more information about the gate openings/closings, call the DES Police Department at 608-388-2000.

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