Update: Redstone Arsenal Gate 8 to Reopen Monday

Redstone Arsenal sign (WHNT News 19)

Redstone Arsenal sign (WHNT News 19)

New Gate Hours: Effective Monday, February 10, 2014

New Gate Hours: Effective Monday, February 10, 2014

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (WHNT) – It took nearly two weeks of complaints and behind-the-scenes work to find solutions for traffic congestion at Arsenal gates.  But come Monday morning, things should significantly improve — that’s the hope.

The Commanding General of the US Army Installation Management Command has authorized Redstone Arsenal to hire additional security personnel, including gate guards, which will provide immediate relief for local traffic concerns.

Gate 8 will reopen Monday, February 10 to incoming and outgoing traffic at 5:30 a.m. It will close to all traffic at 1 p.m.

“A combined effort among our local officials, the installation command and the installation management command authorized us to increase our guard force to combat  the congestion at the gates, “explains Redstone Arsenal Physical Securities Officer Kevin Dykema.

“The gate guards work very hard,”says Dykema. “They are the first line of defense for entry onto the installation and when they look down that line and see it for a mile, it can be disheartening.”

This move comes after an announcement Thursday by U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions’ office that 20 new security guards would be hired. Sen. Sessions says the addition brings the total number of guards to 100.

In the authorization, IMCOM officials acknowledged the unique and exceptional circumstances of Redstone Arsenal as a federal center of excellence with a workforce composed mainly of civilians who commute to work every day.

“Though hiring additional personnel will take some time, we are implementing measures that will allow us to provide immediate relief to the rush hour congestion,” said Michael Sheehy, Director of Emergency Services, Redstone Arsenal.

“Actually as soon as Monday we’re going to increase our operations tempo and staff every lane during the day shift,” Dykema says. “That will be an immediate fix to that problem – for us to hire the additional guards will take us some time but that will be out of the public eye and something we will handle internally.”

The most recent gate changes took place Monday, January 27.  They caused headaches and major delays for workers, who said no matter how early they left home, they still got stuck in traffic.  The closure of Gate 8 brought more traffic to Gate 9.  Wrecks on I-565 several mornings also added to the traffic headaches.

Officials with the Provost Marshal General of the US Army, IMCOM and US Army Garrison, Redstone Arsenal will conduct further studies to determine a long-range plan for the appropriate size of its security force.

“This authorization will help reduce the wait times and frustrations at the gates,” said COL Bill Marks, Garrison Commander, Redstone Arsenal. “Our guard force has really stepped up and has continued to perform one of our most vital functions at one of our most challenging times.”

Hours at other gates will remain unchanged as officials continue to analyze the flexibility the additional guards will afford.

Recently, with the closure of Gate 8, traffic has been backing up, causing major delays for weekday commuters.  Every weekday, 43,000 people travel onto the Arsenal.

Previous Reports

Many of you who drive on the Arsenal every day have asked for solutions. WHNT News 19 pressed Garrison Commander Colonel Bill Marks to see if a solution is in the works. As recently as last week, he said he didn’t expect Gate 8 to reopen anytime soon.

Even Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle offered a helping hand to the arsenal, only to be turned down.

31 comments

  • Wake Up

    See, Republicans are willing to spend more tax money and create more debt for our children — as long as it is for things they like.

    • Branko Pezdi

      Best to ignore the troll. His posts are sufficient to label him as embarrassingly clueless and pathetic. It’s easy enough to debunk his nonsense for the times he attempts to spout his liberal “facts” which he plagiarizes off various liberal websites.

      • Bill

        Branko, you are right as rain, about this ——- left winger, some one from another station (radio) told me 19 hired him , to try to improve there internet web page ratings.

    • Wake Up

      Branko, I am still waiting for you to debunk my facts posted on the substitute teachers story. You need to spend less time posting trash under multiple names (internet troll) and more time learning about the real world.

      • Sammy

        Wake Up, you are the only one on this discussion that makes sense. People in this region of the country do not want to wake up. They would rather just try to recreate the past and are scared of the future.

      • Branko Pezdi

        What facts were those? The entire point about substitute teachers is that they are SUBSTITUTES. There is a requirement in the free market (public schools as employers in this specific case) for a job as a substitute teacher which can entail anywhere from zero to forty hours per week of teaching at one school or another. The compensation offered for this job is such and such which does not include health insurance benefits. A person is perfectly free to choose to take this job or look for another one if he wants employer-provided health insurance as part of his compensation. It is NO business of the government to MANDATE that an employer be required to provide compensation in a particular form in return for an employee’s services, it is a contract between employer and employee only. This is something that you liberal do-gooder fascists simply cannot tolerate in our presumably free, Constitutional society. Which is why you people are so evil. Go away.

  • K. Anderson

    Thank you to our local politicians for looking out for the interest and quality of life of their constituents!! Now if we can get rid of the Garrison Commander who is obviously incapable of doing a job of the magnitude he is in.

  • joe bob

    Just about HOW MANY HUNDRED PEOPLE doing nothing does the arsenal employee , capable of checking a persons badge and tags ?Sorry , I forgot they are of the Military Training !?????

  • Skillpot

    Okay, “…20 new security guards…,” for what? Just a political ploy for 2014? Open up the gates, and work the security a better way! Same with TSA with those useless patdowns!

  • Honest Broker

    RSA successfully defrauded the government.

    They did this by closing gate 8 and an additional lane at gate 7 under the pretense that they did not have enough guards to keep them open.

    With those closures it caused further congestion at the remaining gates on RSA which caught the attention of one congress man, the AMC Commanding General and the local new media. This undo attention caused major concerns for the Commanding General of Installation Management Command and in all honestly the Commanding General thought he was helping them out by giving them authority to hire above the guards they are authorized. This approval was given to RSA on Thursday 6 Feb 14 and on 7 Feb 14 RSA went to the media and stated that they will be opening gate 8 and the additional lane at gate 7 starting Monday 10 Feb 14.

    Now comes the defraud act. RSA has not hired any new guards in the past 12 months. So the number of guards at RSA is the same as they were prior to the gate and lane closure. So how can they magically open gate 8 and the additional lane at gate 7 without hiring ANYMORE guards after they told everyone that the reason for the closures was due to not having enough guards.

    RSA caused major traffic congestion and place all who work their and live in the surrounding area in to danger just to get what they wanted.

    The sad thing is that they will get away with it. No congressman or news media will take this comment and run with it as they did with the comment that RSA made. Now the government has to fund for additional guards at RSA that are not need to accomplish their mission. This will cost the government approx an additional 3.3 million dollars annually.

    • USA VETERAN

      Sadly, I think you are right on this Honest Broker. Isn’t it amazing that the hiring authority is granted and all of a sudden RSA has the capability of mitigating the impact. Sort of like closing open air memorials during gov’t closure. I didn’t see the GC out there announcing all would be great on Monday. If they had capability to mitigate all along, why didn’t they? Certainly a different Army these days!

    • dj

      True no guards have been hired in past year, but numbers of guards has decreased due to guatds getting other jobs or retirring. If guards leave and are not replacrd eventually you don’t have enough left to do the mission.

  • Old Soldier

    Well said Honest Broker…Sadly, and quite frankly, every employee on Redstone have been the hapless pawns in a political power-play!

  • Honest Broker

    REF: Overtime and on their days off. The questions that you need to ask is
    How many guards does it take to do the mission?

    How many guards were on hand before they closed the gate?

    How many guards do they have now?

    And why didn’t they just pay overtime instead of closing the gate?

    To answer those questions i wouldn’t rely on the word of RSA, ask someone with in the pentagon or even the Commanding General of Installation Management Command?

    Thanks for your comments but please see through the smoke screen that was given to the RSA employees and the citizens living around RSA.

  • brian bailey

    Just another way to waste TAX DOLLARS !! I have an IDEA make it a requirement for all previous MILITARY RETIREES currently hired as an consultant,golpher,waterboy, cooridinator,planner,go-between,good-ole boy,pool boy at RSA work 1 day a week on the gates !JUST MAYBE they could be CROSS-TRAINED ? But that is asking a lot I WOULD VENTURE to say ,after working around a lot of these REJECTS !!!

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