UPDATE: Garrison Commander to Address Arsenal Gate Changes

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REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (WHNT) - Gate changes went into effect this week at Redstone Arsenal, causing headaches and delays for thousands of workers.

Redstone Arsenal Garrison Commander, COL Bill Marks, will discuss the changes at 1 p.m. Thursday. WHNT News 19 will be there.  See the updated story.

Many Arsenal workers have complained about the changes, saying no matter how early they leave they still get stuck in traffic.

The Arsenal recently closed Gate 8 for weekdays, driving more morning traffic to Gate 9, Research Park Boulevard.  There were also two wrecks that added to the gridlock this morning.

Thursday's news conference will be the first time Arsenal officials address the gate changes publicly.  WHNT News 19 pressed for answers Wednesday, and they said they couldn't point workers to a particular gate that might move faster than Gate 9.

They suggested you assess your daily routine and adapt to the reality of longer gate waits.  They also said the Arsenal would assess gate planning and staffing once traffic patterns normalize.


  • Suzette Yost VonKamp

    I do hope if the city of Huntsville has to put officers out there to direct traffic, RSA will be paying the bill for it. I thought they learned their lesson in Oct with the messes they had. Huntsville should not have to pay anything for this brainstorm of an idea

    • J

      While I agree it’s ridiculous the gates are backed up — I’ve never seen Huntsville police directing traffic. Even if they had to, I highly doubt Huntsville would care. The Arsenal brings a ton of money into the city.

  • Perry

    I don’t understand what they are trying to do with cutting back staff at the gates. The budget for this has got to be small compared to all of the people sitting in traffic for 30-40mins. So we are saving the salaries for 10 guys and are loosing millions of dollars in lost productivity? The cost of the salaries is nothing compared to causing everyone on the arsenal to be late for work. The traffic jams also cause accidents. How does this save money in any kind of screwed up math? I bet if the army setup a donation sight they would have more than enough money to hire guards. Most folks would pay a dollar a day not to have to wait at the gates. I bet that would add up quick. What would it cost them if they had to pay everybody waiting at the gates what they get paid per hour.

    • J

      I’ve been wondering about this myself. The cost of lost work is significantly greater than a few guards. But, they expect you to leave early enough so that no hours are lost… Not for the employer at least. Everyone that’s forced to add a half hour or more to their commute are the ones paying time and gas to sit there.

  • Jenn

    The back up at Gate 7 is cause a big headache for those trying to get to Williams Elementary and Middle in the mornings.

  • Craig

    The traffic issue is directly related to budget cutbacks. As far as the suggestion of loss of productivity….getting stuck in traffic at the gate is not an excuse for not being to work on time. They will be charged leave for not being to work and counseled! It can affect employment. They have to adjust they departure from home time!

    • J

      Yup, although it sucks for those that are now going to lose another few hours a day to “work” along with the extra cost of gas to sit in a line.

    • Leslie

      There a those who can’t drop off thier kids till a certain time at daycare, and they have to pick them up at a certain time also, so they cant work late hours. What are they supposed to do. B/c the daycare is not changing the time they open or close!! Which casues a delay for the parent. Leave and counseling it is!! This is ridiculous!

    • Workerbee

      Craig… I’ll agree to disagree… Issue is it’s so unpredictable, I can leave my house the same time each day and sometimes I’ll get through the gate in 15 minutes, sometimes it takes 45… how the hell do you plan for that? I think management should be more FLEXIBLE. If I show up 15 minutes late, I just leave 15 minutes later… If I’m not missing some important meeting why does it matter?

  • CBC

    Children are a “personal” issue, no one has to provide working hours around the day care schedule. Perhaps one parent go in early and the other leave early and split the drop off and pick up?

  • roaddog256

    Some of you people are down right mean and yes children are a personal issue but the most important issue. It is clear that some people on these comments do not have children. Just remember it GOD, Family ,then Work so get off your damn soap boxes and try to be more understanding pricks. O and the gates suck…….

  • juan

    Leave early to allow for “delays”. no more complain, ok? I stay home an wait for check in mail. back home I work but not in amerika.

  • Wes

    When they close gate 7 at 1:00pm, there are two guards watching traffic leave, why the hell can’t one of them let people enter while the other watches them leave? This has absolutely no common sense attatched to it. Come on Tommy Battle, get involved!! This is a terrible decision by the Garrison, they should personally be held accoutable!

  • annon12

    Someone needs to be held accountable for these decisions. Closing gates/reducing lanes is obviously not the most efficient way to deal with a changing budget. Just like WE WERE INSTRUCTED TO DO in Oct – It was a political decision made to maximize ‘impact’ of these small cuts. Extorting decision-makers to reset our budget – or else. A self-serving decision made by empire-building management afraid to lose any of their budget – all done at the expense of millions of dollars in lost productivity and resulting in much more dangerous driving conditions for anyone nearby. All the while – refusing to address any real waste and abuse in their own structure. What are we talking about – 10 gate guards? – making how much? Couldn’t find any wiggle room in the budget for that? If there is no room in the budget – then why were there 3 lanes open at Gate 7 today (and 2 yesterday)? Why is the garrison continuing to spend millions on the martin road widening? What other cuts has garrison implemented? Are they trying to minimize the impact of these cuts or maximize the impact of these cuts? What does the taxpayer deserve?

    WHNT, (if they actually report news or break stories) needs to TAKE ACTION and file a FOIA request for all decision-making correspondence relating to these gate closings and conduct a thorough investigation. Closing gates has the highest impact of any thing garrison does – was this considered when making the decision to cut guards? There were wrecks today resulting from this decision – what if there is a fatality tomorrow? Who is responsible? This decision has put lives in jeopardy – was this decision truly the last resort? Or the first resort? If so, what other budget saving measures has garrison taken? Taxpayers pay all these people’s salaries – we deserve answers and accountability from those who we employ.

    • eurekadog

      Doesn’t causing folks to burn gas while waiting in lines go against (if not offset) all of the green initiatives “adopted” by the Arsenal ?

  • Workerbee

    I agree this is a man made crisis that could be avoided… frankly I bet the Garrison is hoping they can use this to cry wolf to higher headquarters hoping to get back money and authorizations. The unique issue to Redstone (I will give them credit for this) is most bases can use military to beef up gates, and well Redstone really doesn’t have any…

    BUT, if the guards were properly stagged, and policies adjusted (so it’s not required to have a couple guys picking their noses watching traffic at each gate) this would probably be solved.

  • k.miller@comcast.net

    I really think it is a big mess I was in the traffic and on Monday all the school buses were stuck in the traffic as well trying to get on the Arsenal to pick up the kids for school just think they are being late for school just by trying to get onpost to pick them up this is really sad. Why can’t they just open them up until at least 10:00 so we all can make it on time I think that Huntsville city school should get involed as well.

  • Worker delight

    Someone in command decided that to stress how important their budget is, they would inflict the most amount of damage and inconvenience the average worker. Lost productivity, wasted gas, frustration, missed meetings all add up to a poor leadership decision. Redstone command would be better served figuring out how to expedite people through the gates instead of punishing them again as they did this summer with furloughs.

  • StuckInTraffic

    Why doesn’t the Redstone Garrison Commander get rid of a couple of his aides? That would pay for several gate guards.

    All this talk about “balancing resources” is a smoke screen. Why does it take 2 gate guards to watch people leave? One should be enough. Shift those resources to getting people onto the Arsenal in the morning.

    And what about the Arsenal police? Tuesday at 7:00am when traffice was backed up on Patton Road to Bob Wallace, there was an Arsenal cop just sitting in his patrol car in my parking lot, watching the slow traffic at Gate 10 like it was a spectator sport.

  • gary

    They also made the earliest you can arrive to work 0630, they need to go back to allowing employees to come in at 0600 again. That would help some.

  • Wes

    I just hope the garrison commander doesn;t tell us this is the new norm. If he does that will be UNACCEPTABLE!!! This is such an easy fix, were talking a dozen gate guards. I don’t understand why the guards have to have squad cars, they don’t do traffic stops as they do not have arrest powers, yet they have a fleet of squad cars, so many ways to save money it’s endless. Tottally avoidable!

  • SB

    And everyone is assuming that the traffic on Research Park is going to the Arsenal. Not true! Poor decision making leaders are making us others, not affiliated with the Arsenal, late for work.

    And what’s the City of Huntsville doing about it? They are attracting all kind of businesses to the area making millions in revenues, by yet, they have the same numbers of lanes they’ve had for decades. Poor Planning…

    Why don’t they have HPD officers directing traffic? And why aren’t those top brats making someone stand at those “closed” gates for couple hrs in the morning to ease the traffic congestion up?

    And roaddog256, why don’t you leave God out of the equation. God didn’t close the gates. Humans did. And to some, it’s Family, God, then Work.

  • Gail Oliver

    I live near Arsenal Gates but never have a reason to go on the Arsenal. When these closings are announced, it would be nice to know what roads these Gates are on. Most of the time, articles announce closings by Gate number only. The closings greatly impact each area they are in. I would avoid the roads leading up to the Gates if it was easier to identify which Gates are closed by Street Name. \

  • JC

    Everyone understands it’s a political position to gain more funding for Redstone. The fact is the gates have not been operating at 100% capacity as available personnel have been focused on meeting delay directives. A typically 2 second check has turned into 3 to 5 seconds, compounded over 30,000 personnel. They’re playing a political game at the cost of over an hour per day per person.

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