Security concerns prompt Wright-Patt to close major gateway

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base

Wright-Patterson has imposed tighter security measures and closed Gate 26A “until further notice,” according to a base spokeswoman.

The gateway along Ohio 235 near the main airfield was closed for the Monday morning commute into the sprawling base. It typically handles an average of about 5,200 vehicles a day, according to Wright-Patterson.

A traffic back-up delayed commuters through Gate 1A on Monday and rolled into Fairborn, tipsters reported.

Wright-Patterson spokeswoman Marie Vanover said she had no information on when Gate 26A might reopen, and added it did not involve an incident at the base.

RELATED: Wright-Patt will get new gateway

In a statement, she said: “It is a day-to-day responsibility to ensure the safety, security and operation of Wright-Patterson AFB. As part of that responsibility, we have reviewed recent incidents and have taken various measure, to include the closure of Gate 26A, to continue to ensure the safety and security of the base. As a matter of practice, we do not discuss specific security measures currently in place or being taken.”

Commuters were told to use Gates 1A, 12A, and 15A as alternatives.

On March 21, a man drove a mini-van that was on fire and filled with five propane tanks and three gasoline cans toward a gate at Travis Air Force Base in northern California that veered away from the entrance and crashed, The Associated Press reported.

RELATED: Wright-Patt gateway to close as part of security upgrade

The man was dead when authorities reached the wreck, the AP reported.

The FBI was investigating the incident.

The closure was imposed less than two weeks after Wright-Patterson and federal officials broke ground for a new $10.5 million Gate 26A that will replace the current gate and Gate 16A, a commercial truck gate off Ohio 444.

The work was set for completion in 2019.

RELATED: Gate at site of security breach recently had $1.3 million upgrade

The new entranceway will be off Ohio 235 between Sandhill Road and Circle Drive.

In 2015, Wright-Patterson spent about $1.3 million to improve security at Gate 12A, including the installation of a pop-up barricade. The gate is closest to the Air Force Materiel Command headquarters.

Last year, the base spent another $1.3 million to upgrade Gate 19B off National Road, including additional security checkpoints. The gate is closest to the Air Force Institute of Technology.

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Wright-Patterson has had to deal with security breaches at gates in recent years. In November 2015, a Beavercreek man drove past a guard at Gate 22B at Interstate 675 and got into at least one Air Force Research Laboratory building, prompting an hours-long employee evacuation and a lockdown of a nearby child care center until the man was apprehended, authorities have said.

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