11/2/2012 - WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio -- The opening Nov. 2 of a portion of the new Spruce Way, on what was formerly the 1.5-mile portion of State Route 444 passing on federal land through Wright-Patter-son Air Force Base, is the latest milestone reached of the project meant to enhance base security.
The roadway was just repaved and repainted the week of Oct. 29, said Fred Tito, a design manager in the 88th Civil Engineer Directorate (CE) and manager of the project, and its opening will help relieve internal congestion and improve base traffic flow.
Spruce Way, including new bicycle lanes, now connects from Chidlaw Road, running behind the Hope Hotel and Richard C. Holbrooke Conference Center, onto the former SR 444. The connection is open to the intersection with Gates 8A and 38A at the south entrance to Kittyhawk Center and to Gate 9A near the Wright-Patterson Medical Center.
"Opening this section of Spruce Way will help a lot, especially around the Medical Center area, as people use Spruce to get over to Kittyhawk, as opposed to going past the Bricks," Mr. Tito said.
With the new bike lanes in place, Mr. Tito cautions drivers to be aware and accommodate those riders.
"The connection now with Kittyhawk Center and Area A has opened up that ability for bicyclists to safely navigate back and forth. As drivers, that's something to keep in mind - you'll see more of them out there than you did before. Definitely keep a look out."
The remaining northern portion of Spruce Way, between Gates 8A/38 A and the new Gate 1A, is scheduled to open Nov. 19 with a ceremony marking the project's completion.
Gate 1A's prefabricated guard shack was delivered Oct. 24 and placed on its concrete pad on the former SR 444. Utility connections have been made, Mr. Tito said, and work has begun on footers and supports for a new canopy designed to offer some protection for the military police members staffing the gate.
In another development, work to add another left-hand turn lane from SR 444 into Gate 12A has accelerated, Mr. Tito said. Information has been sent to the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), which has jurisdiction over the traffic signal there. ODOT has approved CE's preliminary plan to create double left-hand turn lanes. CE is working to change either the current overall project contract to accommodate the work, which was not an original part of it, or obtain separate funding.
Mr. Tito said he is satisfied with the way the entire project is going.
"I think it's gone well; we've had a few obstacles but have overcome them," Mr. Tito said. "We're keeping to the original schedule, everything should be open mid-November and people can begin to adjust to the 'new normal.'"