Construction slated to begin next summer on a new entry gate at RAF Lakenheath
Stars and Stripes May 14, 2008
Plans are under way to create a new entry gate to alleviate congestion at Gate 1, the main gate here, according to a top base official.
The estimated $7.4 million project will be built at the dormant Gate 8, just north of Gate 1 next to Breckland Pines Golf Course along the A1065 highway.
It is still in the design stage, and construction is slated to begin next summer with a completion date in late 2010, said Col. John Clarke, 48th Mission Support Group commander.
He said the new gate will ease the main gate’s gridlock, which typically can be seen in the morning when delivery trucks heading on base block incoming traffic.
"All the lorries that currently come through Gate 1 have to be inspected before they can come on base," Clarke said. "All lorry traffic will [eventually] go through Gate 8."
An inspection station with inspection pits for two large vehicles is planned for Gate 8 as well as a gatehouse, over-watch tower, roads, parking areas and cameras, among other work.
The station has the project’s biggest price tag at roughly $2.4 million, according to a report in the Air Force’s fiscal 2009 military construction budget.
A vehicle explosion detection system and an under-vehicle surveillance system are to be installed at the station as well. These will be funded separately from the $7.4 million project, according to base officials.
The budget report concluded that without the project and these security upgrades, the base could be vulnerable to a terrorist sneaking an explosive past gate guards.
"These circumstances will severely hamper the Security Forces ability to protect RAF Lakenheath, with its primary military and human resources, against sabotage and terrorist attacks," said the report, written by Lt. Col. Brian Murphy, the 48th Civil Engineer Squadron commander.
A new entry gate may also prevent accidents from impatient drivers waiting in the long queues at Gate 1. British Ministry of Defence constables often stand outside the gate to deter drivers on the A1065 highway from cutting off others heading on base in a left-turn-only lane.