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Gate changes affect traffic

ANDREWS AFB, Md. --  The Main Gate closed Monday, affecting the flow of traffic entering and exiting the installation. 

"We're adapting to a new set of characteristics that are consistent with the amount of volume that we can accept at the North Gate and Virginia Gate," said Col. Robert J. Dutterer, 316th Security Forces Squadron commander. "Everyone should keep in mind this is a temporary arrangement and during this time, we ask that everyone be as cooperative as possible. We're trying to maximize traffic flow while still maintaining secure gate procedures." 

If possible, people working on Andrews should try to adjust their work schedules, said Colonel Dutterer. With supervisor approval and if family commitments allow, they should try to come to work a little earlier to avoid the peak traffic hour, which is 7 to 8 a.m. 

"I've added more manpower on the gates until the construction is completed to help get people through the gates as quickly and safely as possible," he added. 

When approaching the gate, drivers needs to have the window down and identification cards for everyone in the vehicle ready to hand to the entry controller, said the colonel. Don't wait to get the ID card ready once already at the gate. 

Motorcycle riders should have an armband for their ID card, so they have easy access to their ID card when at the gate. 

Before drivers arrive at the North Gate, they need to be in the appropriate lane -- use the left lane for the east or the right lane for the west side of the base, said Colonel Dutterer. Also, the entry controllers don't have a lot of time for questions. This causes backups. 

Another gate affected by the closure is the Virginia Gate. 

When approaching the Virginia Gate, drivers need to abide by the stoplight, said the colonel. Per state law, people can't block an intersection. 

"This causes more traffic delays going in the opposite direction," he said. "You're not doing anyone but yourself a favor by tying up the intersection." 

To help with traffic flow through the Virginia Gate, Prince George's County has adjusted the stoplights around the gate. 

To help with the outbound traffic, the Pearl Harbor Gate, on the east side of the base, is open 24 hours a day, for outbound personally owned vehicles only. 

The gates are being upgraded as part of an Air Force security initiative as a result of the attacks of Sept. 11, said Colonel Dutterer. The updates will incorporate the latest antiterrorist features to make the base safer.
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