Fort Indiantown Gap’s new Access Control Point gate on Fisher Avenue will go into service on Nov. 1.
The ACP, located on Fisher Avenue near Biddle Drive, will open at 1 p.m. All other FTIG entrances will be permanently closed to traffic at that time.
In an interview with LebTown, Col. Kevin Potts emphasized that the ACP’s purpose is to enhance security at the military installation.
“The security goes to all of the employees, and I think that is a big benefit,” said Potts. “It will cut down on the amount of through traffic and it will increase the amount of security for the day-to-day employees who are here and the transient units who come to train here. It will be more secure for them in the evening when they are in their barracks or when they’re in their headquarters buildings working after normal duty hours. They won’t have to worry about people just walking in off the street.”
Potts said some people have misconstrued certain words that have been said about the gate’s intended use on Fisher Avenue.
“There’s a misnomer out there that we’re closing the post,” said Potts. “Words have meaning, and when you say ‘closed,’ people automatically think back to ‘98 to the BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure), and they think the post is going away. That is the furthest thing from the truth. We are the number one busiest National Guard post in the nation. We will continue to be so by supporting both DOD (Department of Defense) and non-DOD entities here on post.”
Public affairs officer Wayne Hall said there will be two access points into FTIG for vehicle traffic. “That will be the main ACP out here and a temporary ACP for post employees. Everybody else that does not need to come here for business will have to detour around the south side of the installation.”
Potts said access to events on the base will continue as they have in the past with some minor changes.
Service members and employees will present a Department of Defense Common Access Card or state identification badge to access the installation when coming to work.
Visitors without a CAC or state badge will be required to check in at the new visitor center with a valid form of photo ID. Two acceptable forms of ID are a state driver’s license and a U.S. passport for visitors to gain access to the base. A day pass will then be issued to visitors who possess valid identification.
“We are not shutting out the community,” said Potts. “If the local community has a legitimate reason to come on the post, to go to the museum or they want to go have dinner at the club, they are still able to do that. They just have to pass through the visitor center. It is not the end of the world.”
Hall invited visitors to attend FTIG’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony on Dec. 6, and he encouraged the public to “come visit us” anytime, a statement he said can’t be emphasized enough. The ACP also will not prevent access to other amenities located near the base.
The perimeter project will not affect access to Indiantown Gap National Cemetery, Memorial Lake State Park, Marquette Lake, the Keystone Conference Center or Fort Indiantown Gap’s hunting and fishing areas.
Potts added that the Gap will continue to partner with Lebanon County and local municipalities on an as-needed basis when accidents occur on Interstate 81 that may necessitate detouring traffic through the installation.
“We are still willing to provide that detour as necessary,” said Potts. They, the county commissioners, and township leadership have been working to provide their detours on and off of 81 when accidents take place. Now, it is a matter of implementing those plans.”
The Gap encompasses more than 17,000 acres in northern Lebanon and Dauphin counties. It is home to the headquarters of the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and the Pennsylvania National Guard as well as numerous other tenant units. It is consistently among the busiest National Guard training centers in the country, hosting more than 100,000 personnel for training annually.
For Potts, the security enhancements are a long time coming since it was mandated that all military installations be gated after Sept. 11, 2001. There have been a plethora of delays over the years that have prevented it from being constructed once the Gap was in the funding queue for the security project.
“We’re the last installation in the country to be fenced, unsecured,” said Potts. “It’s been two-plus years in the making to get this far and another two years before it is completed. It just takes a lot of time, money and effort to get it all done.”
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