Traffic flows despite gate closure

  • Published
  • By Wayne Crenshaw
  • 78 ABW/PA
The Watson gate closed Nov. 22 and will remain closed for two months for security improvements. Early indications are the plan for mitigating the impact of the gate closure is working to provide safe and secure entry onto the base.

Actions taken by 78th Air Base Wing leadership to mitigate traffic concerns included shifting Watson gate guards to other base gates to help with the traffic flow resulting in steady traffic movement during peak hours. Traffic can still flow into the Visitor's Center from the normal entry point at Gate 3, the Watson gate. Drivers must exit onto Hwy. 247.

Since closure of the Watson Gate, a review of wait times conducted during peak morning and afternoon hours showed drivers waiting 5 to 7 minutes to get through the busiest gates - Russell Parkway, Green Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard. The quickest gate is the Air National Guard gate, with a wait time of 2 to 3 minutes.

Current mitigation plans called for Gate 5, the Martin Luther King gate, assuming 24/7 operations, with an increase to six guards from four posted in three lanes during peak hours, from 5:30 to 8 a.m. A fourth lane is not open because the four lanes merge into three after the ID check; merging would create an additional traffic problem.

To ensure vehicle safety, the Houston County Sheriff's Department has responded to a base request to enforce the ban against illegal right-hand turns off Hwy. 247 into the MLK gate entrance without using the proper turn lane.

Additionally, Gate 14, the Russell Parkway gate, is open 4:30 a.m. to midnight every day. It has six guards, two per lane in three lanes, during peak hours from 5 to 8 a.m. Three outbound lanes are open after 8 a.m. to maximize flow of traffic leaving the base. Prior to 8 a.m., traffic exits through one serpentine lane.

Gate 1, the Green Street gate, is open from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. Up to five guards are posted in three lanes during peak hours, from 5:30 to 8 a.m. Slight delays at this gate are due to only two lanes to flow traffic from, both before and after the ID check point, officials said.

Gate 15, the Air National Guard gate, is open 5 to 8:30 a.m. and 2 to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, with two guards for two lanes during peak hours, from 5 to 8 a.m. As the gate receives minimal traffic, adding extra guards has no added benefit, officials said.

Gate 12, the carpool gate north of Gate 15, is open Monday through Friday from 5:15 to 9 a.m. with two guards, for inbound traffic only.

Gate 4, the commercial gate, is open from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday for commercial traffic only. Although the gate exists for guards to search commercial vehicles, base traffic can flow outbound only through one serpentine lane.

The 78th Security Forces Squadron continues to monitor traffic at all locations to look for potential entry and exit improvements.

As a reminder, Robins has a number of mass transit plans to help alleviate traffic flow at Robins. Base workers may take the Round Robins Express, which picks up riders in a designated parking space west of Bldg. 2336 and drops them off at Bldgs. 300 and 301, and the flightline.

Workers may take advantage of the BIRD, Buses Into Robins Daily, which is a weekday shuttle service from Macon to Robins. Also, there is very light traffic at the carpool gate.

For more detailed information regarding transportation initiatives, visit the base web page at