MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — Misawa drivers should face slightly longer afternoon traffic delays exiting the base for a few months so Misawa’s three major gates can be given major security upgrades, officials said.

Outbound traffic through Misawa Air Base’s Main Gate will be diverted through two new lanes until December, according to 35th Security Forces Commander Maj. Joe Milner.

The change, which took effect Tuesday, is due to gate force protection upgrades, security officials said.

The base’s three primary gates — Levitow, Falcon and Main — are getting enhanced security features such as pop-up steel plates, bollards, high concrete curbs, cameras and tire shredders. The measures are intended to meet more stringent Air Force entry control point guidelines, officials said.

Traffic delays during peak outbound times in the late afternoon should be slightly longer than usual at the Main Gate, Milner said; hours and lanes at the Falcon Gate return to normal — 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. — by the end of October; and work at the Levitow Gate should end by Oct. 1.

All three gates should cost about $2 million, officials said.

The new outbound lanes at the Main Gate skirt a portion of the base exchange parking area and wind past the visitor center.

“It’s using what used to be, and what will be, our [private vehicle] search area for the Main Gate,” Milner said.

Later this fall, inbound lanes will be diverted similarly, he said.

“When it’s all done,” in December, traffic flow will be restored to previous patterns, Milner said.

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

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