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Robins Russell Parkway gate to reopen Monday

C.T. Bone Company employees work on the Russell Gate canopy construction area. The gate is scheduled to reopen next week.

C.T. Bone Company employees work on the Russell Gate canopy construction area. The gate is scheduled to reopen next week.

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Robins' Gate 14, known to many people as the Russell Parkway Gate, will be back in business Monday.

The gate construction, which provided a canopy to shelter gate guards from the weather, was the second gate in recent months to receive upgrades since similar changes were made to Gate 1, or the Green Street Gate.

Jim Bearden, a construction inspector in the 778th Civil Engineer Squadron who worked on the three-month project, said C.T Bone Inc., the Warner Robins-based contractor on the project, recently put final touches on the project to get the gate ready to reopen on Monday.

Mr. Bearden said the current project, which began Sept. 4, is part of a $1.5 million Department of Defense-funded effort to provide more modern facilities at three of the base's gates: the Main Gate, the Russell Parkway Gate, and the MLK Gate.

Frank Shedd, 778th CES chief of construction management, said some minor inconveniences may occur at the gate's reopen, as construction workers take care of minor remaining items in the project.

"If we do have any punchlist items that have not been completed by Dec. 4, then there may be a situation where we may open and close lanes," he said. "We may have two lanes entering the base instead of three. We may have some touch up work to do, but right now we're anticipating that we'll have it done."

Mr. Shedd said the construction crew will try to work around peak work hours to make inconveniences as minimal as possible.

Despite a few weather challenges, construction workers completed the project by their December deadline.

"One thing we have to recognize the contractors for is that they've been very diligent and have worked seven days a week from the Gate 1 project all the way through the Russell Parkway Gate project," he said. "They worked Saturdays and Sundays, and they've worked around the elements such as high winds that affect them hanging steel and putting the roof on the building. They've also worked around rain. They've gone out of their way to meet this deadline."

Mr. Shedd said Team Robins deserves a pat on the back as well.

"I certainly do appreciate the cooperation that we've had," he said. "We know it has been hard for people to change their way of coming on base and everybody has been very cooperative. I appreciate all of the cooperation the base populace has provided us with during this project."

The first part of January 2007, Gate 5, or the MLK Gate, will undergo the same facelift, receiving the same canopy upgrade package.

Mr. Bearden said currently the design plan for the gate includes a new gate guard shack located in the parking lot south of the existing gate with a canopy overhead.

Mr. Bearden said the gate's existing guard shack will remain in place, while its fence line will be moved back to Page Road and the existing parking lot nearby will be turned into a new thoroughfare.

Terry Landreth, 778th CES design branch chief, said the upcoming change will reconfigure the entry traffic flow at Gate 5, taking the burden of traffic off of Ga. Highway 247 and putting it on the base instead.

But, drivers' traffic woes during the future project are expected to be less than what was felt during other recent gate projects, Mr. Bearden said.

"We're not going to close that gate like we did at Green Street and Russell Parkway," he said. "We're going to leave it open until the very end of construction and the only time we'll close that gate is to install new utilities and it will only be closed from 15 to 30 days."

Drivers normally using Gate 5 will have the option of using one of the other base entrances during the short closure, Mr. Bearden said.

The construction project inspector said more information about any other projectrelated changes will be posted in the base newspaper, on base marquees and on base computers as information becomes available.

According to Mr. Bearden, the Gate 5 project is expected to be complete by April or May 2007, barring any weatherrelated delays.