Portable metal blockades at USAREUR gates could become permanent
Stars and Stripes October 25, 2004
DARMSTADT, Germany — What was to be a temporary fix for a security hitch may become permanent, according to U.S. Army Europe force protection officials.
Portable metal blockades, called Nasatka Barriers, that have cropped up at Army gates are either being modified to remain a control point constant or will be tapped for force protection measures when new Army transformation installations open up, said Justin Briley, USAREUR anti-terrorism operations acting deputy.
“The thing is, we already have these barriers and USAREUR can restructure them to be more permanent,” he said. “The benefit is that they’re portable and can be easily moved some place else if needed.”
Plus, Briley said, they’re more cost-effective than building permanent structures at access control points, since these designs may have to change depending on security needs. And, he added, the barriers are highly effective at stopping vehicle.
The mobile barriers, which are operated manually or through hydraulic operation, can be raised within a second and can stop a 15,000-pound vehicle going 50 mph if it is traveling from more than 25 meters away, Briley said.
The barriers came to USAREUR after a stateside defense threat reduction team determined there was a lack of stopping power at Army access control points.
USAREUR took the assessment team’s findings and purchased the Nasatka Barriers, which have been distributed to area support groups and installed over the past couple months.
According to the Nasatka Web site, the barrier opening is 12 feet wide, the top of the barrier is 31 inches high while in the up position, and it does not mark or damage the roadway when in the down or open position.
However, when placed directly on the road surface vehicles need at least a 6-inch clearance to get over the barriers.
Briley said the barricades were designed so that the average automobile could make it over. He said in some cases drivers with modified vehicles are having trouble getting by unscathed.
Sgt. Jesse Eaton, of the Mannheim, Germany, community is one of those drivers. He drives a lowered BMW, and said at his home base he has trouble getting over the barriers.
“I’ve been on some installations that have these same barricades in place, but they took the extra time to install a smooth incline of pavement leading up to the barricade,” he said. “My car has no problem whatsoever crossing these ones.
“But at my home installation, the barricades seem to have been installed with haste, and with little regard for automobiles that are of the ‘vertically challenged variety.’ Some barricades don’t even lay evenly on the road, with one side protruding more than the other out of the ground.”
Briley said recommendations have been sent to the ASGs to keyhole the barriers, which is cutting a wedge into the ground and dropping the barriers down to make them level with the road.
So far, Briley said some ASGs have taken action by adding asphalt ramps to either side of the barrier to help dropped vehicles make it over safely.
But those who are really worried about damaging their cars should park outside the post and walk in, Briley suggested. “Even with the ramp it might be dangerous,” he warned owners of lowered vehicles.
Bob Purtiman, a USAREUR spokesman, said drivers could go to their local claims office to file a report for any damage caused by the barriers.
As of September, fewer than 10 drivers have made a claim with the Army for undercarriage vehicle damage, Purtiman said.