Garrison Commander Addresses Gate Changes on Redstone Arsenal

Col. Bill Marks, Garrison Commander

Col. Bill Marks, Garrison Commander

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (WHNT) – The Redstone Arsenal workforce is trying to figure out the morning commute, yet again.

With several gate changes and the complete shutdown of Gate 8, traffic has been backing up for the last few days, causing major delays for commuters.

Arsenal managers spoke about the changes Thursday, saying it’s simply a lack of guardforce.

Colonel Bill Marks said instead of moving guards from one gate to another, it makes more sense to shut down a gate they feel isn’t getting utilized the most and put more guards at other stations.

“I knew going into this, as I try to communicate when we made the decision to announce it, it would create delays, naturally create frustration, and we’ve seen both,” said Col. Marks.

Col. Marks is the Garrison Commander, and says just like we saw during furloughs, the gate changes are causing headaches.  But he said it has to be done.

“When you’re reduced in your guard force, you’ve got to strike that balance to make sure there’s a reasonable amount of access to the post,” he said.

Every weekday, 43,000 people travel onto the Arsenal.  Colonel Marks says the key is to keep the entrances predictable for his workforce.

“I feel like it would be much more disastrous if one morning we were not able to man fully all of the gates and I had to close a gate without informing the workforce,” he said.

He says don’t expect Gate 8 to reopen anytime soon.

“The changes we plan [are] more permanent.”

This could be the new normal.

“What I do expect and what we did see with the furloughs was that traffic, the workforce will find something that’s more predictable, folks will settle down as they figure out this is my gate, or the gate that I like to enter in most based on where I live,” he said.

Colonel Marks says his team is monitoring the traffic.  As far as delays, he says at a minimum he expects people to see 15 to 20 minute delays even after the traffic gets back to normal.