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YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Motorists will have access to Fussa Gate starting Monday — nearly a month ahead of schedule.

After receiving a $1.8 million facelift that began in late August, Yokota’s main entrance is reopening to vehicle traffic, which figures to ease rush-hour congestion — particularly near residential areas on the base’s east and west sides.

It wasn’t slated to reopen until the new year, but construction was finished early.

The renovations were aimed at upgrading security, streamlining traffic flow and polishing the gate’s overall appearance, base officials said.

“This will enhance force protection and make it easier to get in and out of the base,” said 1st Lt. Warren Comer, a 374th Airlift Wing spokesman. “It also makes it easier for security forces to do their jobs.”

Similar improvements have been made to the base’s other gates in an effort that started in September 2003.

Fussa Gate remained open 24 hours a day to pedestrian traffic as workers completed the project, and that policy won’t change. Vehicle traffic will be permitted only between 5 a.m. and 11 p.m.

Guest passes are issued around the clock at the Visitor Control Center inside the gate. The Terminal Gate no longer will process visitor passes.

Drivers may use the Supply Gate Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., while the South Gate remains a weekday option from 7 to 8 a.m. for inbound motorists and 4 to 6 p.m. for those leaving the base.

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