A new $10.5 million gateway at Wright-Patterson had a ceremonial groundbreaking Monday for an entrance thousands of motorists will enter beginning in late 2019.
The work will consolidate two Wright-Patterson entrances into one and marks the third project to upgrade gateway security since 2015 at the Miami Valley base.
“We want to see this project,” said Wright-Patterson installation commander Bradley McDonald.
U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, along with Army Corps of Engineers and Messner Construction officials joined the ceremony.
Turner said he had a security briefing with former Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James to push the Air Force to release money to build the new entrance way.
The work will be the biggest since the National Air And Space Intelligence Center opened a $29.5 million Foreign Materials Exploitation facility last fall.
A new Gate 26A, a few hundred yards from the current gate, will replace a commercial delivery entrance at Gate 16A off Ohio 444, and the existing Gate 26A off Ohio 235 near the entrance to the 445th Airlift Wing headquarters and the main airfield.
The new entrance way off Ohio 235 will be located between Sandhill Road and Circle Drive, according to Wright-Patterson.
In 2015, Wright-Patterson spent about $1.3 million to improve security at Gate 12A, including the installation of a pop-up barricade. The major entrance way is closest to Air Force Material Command headquarters and NASIC.
Last year, the base spent another $1.3 million in upgrade Gate 19B off National Road, including additional security checkpoints and overhead canopies. The gate is closest to the Air Force Institute of Technology.
The base has had to deal with security breaches at gates, the biggest of which occurred in November 2015 at Gate 22B near Interstate 675. A Beavercreek man drove past a guard and got into at least one Air Force Research Laboratory building, prompting an employee evacuation and a lock down of a nearby child care center until the man was apprehended, authorities have said.
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