Security guard checks ID

Department of the Army Security Guard Mark Helber checks the identification of a motorist at the Lee Avenue Gate.

Fort Lee’s A Avenue Gate will reopen Oct. 11 after a two-month closure that allowed for the installation of an overhead canopy to shield security personnel and incoming traffic from the elements.

As of Oct. 11, the hours at other access control points – which had been adjusted to lessen the inconvenience of the A Avenue Gate closure – will return to normal. Those hours are as follows:

- Shop Road Gate: 6 a.m. - 2 p.m., weekdays; closed weekends

- Lee Gate: 5 a.m. - 8 p.m., weekdays; closed weekends

 - Sisisky Gate: always open

- Mahone Gate: 5 a.m. - 11 p.m., weekdays; 8 a.m. - 11 p.m., weekends

- A Avenue Gate: 5 a.m. - 8 p.m., weekdays; 7 a.m. - 6 p.m., weekends

- Temple Avenue Gate: 4:30-8 a.m., weekdays; closed weekends

- Jackson Circle Gate: Always open for staff, residents and authorized guests

The multiphase ACP-improvement project will continue Oct. 24 with the closure of the Mahone Avenue Gate where the same type of work will be performed. As of that date, Lee Avenue Gate hours will be extended – 5 a.m. - 11 p.m., weekdays; 8 a.m. - 11 p.m., weekends – until the Mahone project is completed on-or-about Dec. 24.

Canopy construction also is planned for Lee Avenue Gate. It will be scheduled after the Virginia Department of Transportation completes a separate, still-to-be-scheduled traffic improvement project along Route 36.

Discussing the canopy builds in a Traveller article published in early August, Fort Lee Director of Emergency Services Tony DeWitt said minimizing the impact of weather has immeasurable benefits. 

“Keeping the sun and rain out of our guards’ eyes helps them stay focused as they stand watch every day,” DeWitt said.

He added that “a bit of sun or rain” may sound insignificant, but those little things add up quickly. “Wet shirt sleeves, dropped IDs and temporary sun blinding are only minor until a distracted driver has an accident.” 

Fort Lee Garrison Commander Col. Hollie Martin also said the gate improvement project is about taking care of people. “The gate guards are our first line of defense and often perform a thankless job. They deserve working conditions that enable them to perform at their best, with the least amount of risk to their life, health and safety.”

Garrison leaders understand construction will create short-term impositions for some and they encourage personnel, residents and visitors to plan ahead. 

“We appreciate the patience and understanding of the community,” Martin assured. “Primary gate closures are an inconvenience. We recognize that. We are going to do our best to get the word out to every employee to hopefully mitigate frustration. What we are asking from Team Lee is to plan ahead and avoid the urge of taking risks, such as speeding, while we’re working through these significant upgrades.

 “If we remain cognizant and consistently remind our staff, customers and visitors of the gate changes, we’ll minimize the impact to normal operations and daily life at Fort Lee,” she said.

Installation access gate hour maps and other visitor information is on the Fort Lee website at home.army.mil/lee/index.php/visitors.