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YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Yongsan Garrison’s busiest gate is open again after a nearly four-month, $1.5 million renovation project.

Gate 17 opened at 6 a.m. Monday morning, said Ricky Oxendine, Yongsan Garrison’s director of emergency services.

The renovated gate offers a bigger visitor center parking lot, two additional lanes for incoming and outgoing traffic, a separate area dedicated for vehicle inspections, new lighting, overhead awnings to protect the guards from the elements, additional guard houses and an “over-watch spot” from which military police can guard the gate if needed.

“Overall, this is great,” Oxendine said. “It improves access control, force protection and even gives the guards more protection from the elements.”

He said work on the drainage system should help flooding problems during the rainy season and pointed out that the actual gate on the fence line also was replaced.

And Oxendine predicts the work will mean less congestion at the gate, something he called “the heart to Yongsan.”

Gate 17 is the primary access point for visitors and delivery trucks, and more than 1,200 people register there at the visitor’s center daily. It is the closest gate to Ichon-dong, a neighborhood heavily populated with base personnel.

He asked that people pay close attention to the new signs and “obey the security guards.”

The project was funded by the garrison, officials said.

Oxendine said he would like to see similar changes to Gate 20 on adjoining Camp Coiner, which sees about half the visitor and commercial traffic as Gate 17.

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