|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
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
“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.