Incidents and maintenance cause gate closures

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Daniel Brosam
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
Many times throughout the year, maintenance and obstructions due to incidents or scheduling close down entry and exit from the base gates, causing frustration and confusion about which gate to use. But why do the gates seem to close so often and sometimes with short notice? There are a few reasons.

Pop-up barriers are placed at both the 2nd Ave. N. gate and 10th Ave. N. gate. These barriers are in place to prohibit unauthorized access to the base, ultimately protecting the base, Airmen and their families.

To ensure the barriers are ready and operable at a moment’s notice, security forces conduct daily tests on these barriers. If problems with barrier operation arise and on-duty forces cannot troubleshoot the issues, a contractor is called to conduct barrier maintenance.

“The gates have to be closed while the barriers are being worked on to ensure the safety of maintenance workers and commuters,” said Andrew Babich, 341st Civil Engineer Squadron deputy chief of operations. “We understand closed gates can be an inconvenience to everyone entering and exiting the base, but the barriers are in place to protect the base and everyone on it.”

According to Master Sgt. Timothy Leaman, 341st Security Forces Squadron NCO in charge of operations, other times the gates will close due to vehicle accidents or drivers colliding with the yellow bollards.

“We routinely have vehicle accidents where vehicles strike the yellow bollards, causing disabling damage,” Leaman said. “When that happens, we have to shift traffic to the other gate so the wreckage can be cleared.”

In addition to the barriers and accidents, Leaman said certain alarms on the installation can result in both gates being closed until no hostilities are found and security forces is given the all-clear to reopen the gates.

All personnel can monitor their email as expected gate closures are announced in advance to allow individuals to plan accordingly.

Gate closure notifications are also sent out through the Air Force Connect app, AtHoc messages and posts on the official Malmstrom Air Force Base Facebook page for the largest message dissemination.

“We will continue to work with the contractor to avoid maintenance during peak traffic hours and to limit delays as much as possible,” said Chief Master Sgt. John Reiland, 341st SFS security forces manager. “Our hope is the more frequent periodic maintenance will prevent unscheduled closures due to barrier malfunctions.”