HUNTSVILLE, AL | JUNE 1, 2016 – The Gate 9 move has begun.
Work started last week on the repositioning project, with the construction of a Goss Road return deceleration lane and median crossover on Rideout Road. This began phase one of a multi-phase, yearlong project that will culminate with a new Gate 9 to be located three-quarters of a mile south on Rideout Road.
More than 41,000 people work at Redstone Arsenal, with around half of them using Gate 9 on a given day. With the establishment of Redstone Gateway – bringing the Boeing Company and future retail, lodging and dining to the area – traffic congestion has become a significant concern.
“Redstone Gateway has been the driver but there has been a safety factor there, too. It has always needed to move,” Joe Davis, the Garrison’s public works director, said.
The project is divided into five phases. Phases one and two include the civil engineering aspects with the road work, utilities and the new Goss Road return; phase three will be the construction of the new gate structure; phase four will include the moving of the physical security barrier (fencing) and an extension of Overlook Road; and phase five will be the removal of the old gate structure. In addition to the Gate 9 relocation, the city of Huntsville plans to add an additional lane on the right leading into the Boeing complex to help alleviate traffic safety concerns and gridlock.
An issue that they have had to deal with is the fact that there is a lot of piping underneath the roads where construction is taking place. This means the pipes have to be relocated along with the gate to stop them from bursting. This requires trenches to be dug to relocate the piping. Safety measures will be taken by using a Steel Trench Box to protect the utility workers working on the pipes from cave-ins.
As part of the Directorate of Public Works’ first phase, three bypass lanes will be constructed to divert southbound traffic around the construction zone. Water and sanitary sewer utilities, as well as storm drainage, are to be installed during the bypass construction. This initial roadwork must be finished before the Gate 9 building construction begins and is expected to take two months.
“It is our intent that when we get started with these phases, to never stop,” Davis said.
While the construction of the new gate is underway, the old gate will remain in operation. During the later parts of construction, motorists will drive through the older gate, which will not be staffed. They will proceed to the new Gate 9, at which time they will undergo the normal gate guard procedures. At no time will Gate 9 be closed.
This project, estimated at $8 million, is a joint effort with many surrounding communities and entities contributing to funding; including Madison County Public Works, Morgan County, Jackson County, Limestone County, the city of Huntsville, Huntsville Utilities, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, the South Central Tennessee Region – a collection of Tennessee leaders representing counties that border Alabama – and Redstone Gateway developer Corporate Office Property Trust. The main contractor handling the project is CCI Planning and Engineering, with DPW leading the designing and planning.
With construction workers present on the road and traffic patterns shifting, DPW asks motorists to be aware of conditions at all times and drive safely through the construction zone. As the project continues, a reduction in the speed limit could possibly begin at the current Gate 9 and will change as needed for inbound and outbound traffic. The Directorate of Emergency Services will enforce the posted speed to ensure the safety of the workers and motorists.
“The public needs to gear for a speed reduction from 45 to 35 mph,” DPW’s Lee Riddle said.
Not simply a Redstone issue, the relocation of the gate will also affect future Redstone Gateway tenants and patrons, a move that Riddle said “defines the delicate balance between meeting our physical security requirements and meeting the economic growth that affects the public.”
This article was written by Katie Davis Skelley of The Redstone Rocket on June 1, 2016. To view the original article, please visit http://www.theredstonerocket.com/news/article_40c7ba5a-27f6-11e6-97f0-f3717b34b8c3.html