Straight Talk: Construction crews using Vandenberg Gate

  • Published
  • By Col. Stacy L. Yike
  • 66th Air Base Group commander
I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving. The holiday season is in full swing now and I love the festive spirit. Have you dropped by the Minuteman Club to see the decorations yet? If not, then Dec. 3 is First Friday and a perfect time to stop in for a visit. A buffet dinner is open from 5 to 6 p.m. It's free for members and $5 for nonmembers. In addition, there will be a "Yankee Swap" with free prizes.

You may also think about visiting the club on Sunday to watch your favorite football game. There is a $5 buffet or the pub menu is available until 7:30 p.m.

I hear traffic is a real bear getting off base. Stopping by the club for a few minutes might be just the ticket. Read on for another reader's suggestions.

Question: Just a thought regarding the numerous construction and contractor crews who use the Vandenberg Gate. Would it be possible to have them use the Marrett Street Gate when they enter and exit the base? I know it would involve setting up some sort of auxiliary visitor center to process them and an extra inspection point, but the congestion caused by only one lane being allowed to enter via Vandenberg is getting high. Wouldn't that entrance also put them closer to the construction sites in base housing and on Grenier Sreet? On the flipside, what if the Marrett Street Gate was used as a relief for regular traffic, much like it was when the Vandenberg Gate was closed for construction? I'm not familiar with the manning requirements for a gate during normal business hours, but if this were possible, that'd be great. These are just thoughts I had while waiting in line to get on base. Thank you for your time.

Response: I hope you weren't writing this e-mail while you were driving your car. Safety first! Assuming you crafted this e-mail once you arrived in the office, then thanks for writing in. The Marrett Street Gate comes up regularly as another option to alleviate traffic concerns. You touched on the main issue, which involves the manpower necessary to operate an additional gate with a commercial search area. Other limiting factors include lack of shelter and information technology infrastructure necessary to vet personnel and issue passes, increased commercial traffic through Minute Man National Historical Park and other concerns.

I, too, would desperately like to improve the traffic flow on and off the base. Our number one goal at the moment is to secure funds from Air Force Materiel Command or via congressional insert to improve the Vandenberg Gate. When we have considered using existing resources, all the solutions generate new issues. I believe that the current gate configuration is the best we can do with the resources we have today. You might consider altering your arrival and departure times to avoid peak traffic hours and heavy traffic at the gates. For example, you could drop by the Minuteman Club. I hope to see you there!