FORT SILL – Fort Sill is closing Key Gate West until November beginning at midnight tonight as part of a construction project to improve the gate.
Until then, residents will be able to use another gate that has been closed for months. Sill will reopen Bentley Gate at Sheridan Rd. and Rogers Ln., which has been closed since May 2011, also due to improvements.
The new makeover for the gates is part of Automated Installation Entry Program and should work kind of like the Pike Pass. Its goal is to make getting on post automated and easier; something that many say is badly needed.
When you drive onto Fort Sill, bumper-to-bumper traffic is an all too familiar site. It is often a headache for folks trying to get where they are going. That is why Fort Sill is revamping the gates with the Automated Installation Entry System. Officials say it is sort of like a Pike Pass, but they are still working out the kinks. Nevertheless, 7News found at least one driver who is skeptical.
"I don't know. I really can't see it. To me though, it's still congested, we'll see at that time," said Brenda Holman.
Bentley Gate might be the first test. One big change, it has been built farther onto post. And although it is not finished, the electrical system still needs to be installed, workers have finished the exterior.
"Key Gate is the last gate of the gates that are part of the Automated Installation Entry Program. They are upgrades to our gates," said Directory of Emergency Services, Bob Pirtle.
Key Gate also will be built farther onto post. It should take 90 days to get the exterior built. And just like Bentley Gate, the electrical work will take some time. Officials say once they get done with construction of the new gates at Key Gate, the final project should be similar to the gates at Bentley Gate.
"This scanner has the technology to do visual recognition, to visually recognize who that they have been properly screened into Fort Sill, because of pre-check information and allow them to vet through," said Pirtle.
Holman cannot wait for all the gates to be revamped and reopen.
"It's going to be even worse now than it is before, so they need to get them open as soon as possible," said Holman.
Post officials say this process is taking place at other installations across the country. They expect them all to be redone within a few years.