By Tech. Sgt. Juan Ramos
21st Security Forces Squadron
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The new east gate opened May 24 and is a welcome relief to members of the 21st Security Forces Squadron who plan to put the new upgraded facility to good use.
The new gate has a dedicated facility for searching commercial traffic, containing all the latest force protection standards and increasing the safety for Defenders working in the area.
The Airmen working the commercial search vehicle area welcomed the indoor facility because it was built specifically to search all sizes of semi-trucks while keeping vehicles, drivers and security forces members out of the elements.
The new facility also includes modifications that will increase the amount of vehicles that can be safely searched, decreasing wait times and traffic lines.
“This is a big deal,” said Lt. Col. Sean Tiernan, 21st Security Forces Squadron commander. “This facility will allow our Defenders to perform their duties in a safe manner while providing the tools needed to improve the service we provide to those entering and departing the installation.”
The east gate project has been in the planning stages since early 2010. The project was awarded in December 2011, and construction began in January 2012. Working under the supervision of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, contractors built a new gate house and commercial vehicle search facility, added traffic lanes and installed additional security features.
The improvements allow the gate to better handle the hundreds of commercial vehicles that pass through it daily, and with dedicated traffic lanes specifically for commercial vehicles, it will allow smoother traffic flow for normal traffic coming on base.
“This will allow us to better separate traffic,” Tiernan said, “and allow fewer delays for personnel reporting for the duty day.”
Ultimately the new East Gate is a product of considerable team effort. Pete Thompson, a senior construction representative from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said the completed project will serve as a standing monument to the military community of what can be accomplished when everyone pulls together.
“This project was a complete success due to everyone doing their part,” he said.
The east gate hours remain 5 a.m.-10 p.m. daily.