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News > New Visitor Center construction will close LaSalle Gate for 6 months
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LaSalle gate to close
This rendering shows the final plans for the new Visitor Center and traffic flow at the LaSalle Avenue Gate at Langley Air Force Base, Va. Construction will close the gate for approximately six months. (Graphic courtesy of 633rd Civil Engineer Squadron)
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New Visitor Center construction will close LaSalle Gate for 6 months

Posted 7/25/2012   Updated 7/26/2012 Email story   Print story


by Tech. Sgt. Randy Redman
633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

7/25/2012 - LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. -- Anyone who regularly arrives at Langley Air Force Base, Va., through the LaSalle Avenue gate should start making alternate travel plans. Beginning Aug. 13, this gate will close for roughly six or seven months due to the construction of a new Visitor Center and gate-entrance guardhouse.

Tech. Sgt. Faye McKevitt, 633rd Security Forces Squadron non-commissioned officer in charge of Police Services and Corrections, said any traffic approaching from the downtown Hampton/Interstate-64A area will be diverted to the Durand, West [Armistead] or King Street gates.

"To alleviate traffic congestion, personnel are asked to make entry onto Langley through gates servicing their respective destination area," said McKevitt. "Anyone who holds a current, military-identification card, has current registration and current insurance, with a need to come onto the north side of Langley, should use the NASA-Durand Gate to avoid traffic congestion."

If an individual works or resides around the Air Combat Command Campus area, McKevitt recommends using the King Street gate to expedite base access.

Traffic flowing through the Langley AFB gates typically peaks at 6 - 9 a.m., 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. and 3:45 - 5 p.m. McKevitt said 633rd SFS personnel will do everything possible to ensure traffic flows smoothly.

"The plan is to reallocate the personnel assigned daily to support LaSalle Gate operations to the West [Armistead] Gate," said McKevitt. "What the base populace will see is at least two lanes open at the West [Armistead] Gate during non-peak hours, and up to four lanes open during peak hours outside of the morning rush."

Anyone planning to use these gates at these times should plan accordingly.

"Leave enough time to make it to your destination safely, and have all necessary identification out and ready to be processed at the entry point," said McKevitt. "Contractor badges will still have to be processed through Armistead or King Street, as this form of identification is not recognized by NASA."

Jim Wampler, 633rd Civil Engineer Squadron chief of programs, said the LaSalle Gate construction is the third and final gate project (King Street and the Armistead Gates have already been redone) to update the base's anti-terrorism and force-protection measures at the base's three, main-entry points.

"The second phase of this $7.6 million project will provide a new guardhouse similar to the others, plus a beautiful new expanded Visitors Center," said Wampler, explaining that construction of the new Vehicle Inspection Station on Armistead Avenue was the first phase. "The old facility was really small, but this new center will be built to much higher standards, and will provide Langley with a beautiful place to welcome folks to our base. It will also house the Pass and Identification Office for 'one-stop-shopping'."

The original contract for the construction was awarded in July 2010, and is being carried out by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Paul Petersen, 633rd CES project manager, is the liaison between Langley and the USACE. He said the new 2,800 square-foot Visitors Center facility will make getting on base a lot simpler for visitors and contractors alike.

"Pass and ID will have six work-stations, a work area for SFS and an office for an NCOIC. There will also be 31 parking spaces, including two handicap spaces, in the new parking lot to be constructed," said Petersen. "The biggest benefit of this whole project is that people don't have to worry about big trucks waiting to get inspected at this gate; those have all been diverted to the Large Vehicle Inspection Station on Armistead.

"Additionally, the finished elevation of this new facility will be 10 feet above sea level, so flooding shouldn't be a problem at all in the future," said Petersen, referring to the proximity between the Visitor Center and the Back River.

Wampler said beginning Aug. 13, LaSalle Avenue will be blocked at Tide Mill Lane, and the City of Hampton will provide signs to notify anyone attempting to access the base from that direction. He also mentioned a small change in traffic flow on base.

"People coming down Elm Street will no longer be able to turn left onto Nealy Avenue, and people will not be able to turn left from Nealy onto Elm," said Wampler. "A median will be added as another force-protection measure to further protect against any potential gate runners."

Editor's note: Non-identification card holders should go to the Visitor Center near the entrance of the West (Armistead Avenue) Gate to get a temporary pass.

7/25/2012 2:52:14 PM ET
Where should non-ID card holders go to access the base while the LaSalle gate is shut down
ana v., hampton va
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