A major gateway to Wright-Patterson thousands of commuters travel through daily reopened Monday, days before it was scheduled to because pavement reconstruction work was completed, authorities said.
Gate 12A near the Air Force Materiel Command headquarters off Ohio 444 in Fairborn, has reopened and will resume 24-hour operations, officials said. Estimates show as many as 14,000 commuters — counting traffic coming in and driving off the base — travel through the gate each workday.
The gate closed Oct. 18 and was scheduled to reopen Nov. 10.
The shutdown marked the second time in less than three years Gate 12A, flanked by landmark F-15 Eagle and F-16 Fighter Falcon fighter jets on towering columns, closed to traffic.
In March 2015, Wright-Patterson closed the gateway three weeks for a $920,000 security upgrade that included the installation of a pop-up barrier across the road and behind the gate entrance.
This time, under a $125,000 road reconstruction contract, crews were to fix drainage woes blamed for causing potholes and weakening the pavement between the front of the gate and Ohio 444.
Gate 15A, which acted as interim 24-hour access gate, will return to its prior operating schedule, closing at 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, authorities said.
Downtown Fairborn businesses, such as the Fairborn Family Diner and Restaurant on North Broad, rely on a stream of lunch time patrons from Wright-Patt.
Reopening the gate should make it easier to reach downtown merchants, said Kadir Kurt, the restaurant’s manager.
“Wherever I go anywhere in downtown Fairborn, I always see lots of military personnel and civilian contractors,” he said, and noted he did not see an expected slowdown at the diner during the shortened paving project.
While the gate has reopened, crews continue work on a $337,000 project to repave Chidlaw Road between Spruce Way and Schlatter Road, a base spokesman said Monday. The nearly six-week paving project is due to conclude Nov. 10.
A major gate reconstruction project awaits Wright-Patt commuters in 2019. A $12.6 million plan will consolidate Gates 26A off Ohio 235 near the 445th Airlift Wing and a commercial truck security screening entrance at Gate 16A off Ohio 444.
Thank you for reading the Dayton Daily News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Dayton Daily News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.