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News > Milestones report: SR 444 project update
New gate Canopy
The project’s completion and the opening of the new Gate 1A is planned for Nov. 19. Already a white canopy sheltering the new gate’s prefabricated guard shack is complete. (photo by Niki Jahns)
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Milestones report: SR 444 project update

Posted 11/9/2012   Updated 11/9/2012 Email story   Print story


by Amy Rollins
Skywrighter Staff

11/9/2012 - WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio -- Only a week or so remains before most of the state Route 444 project is complete at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, enhancing base security while adding such amenities as bicycle lanes to one of the base's main thoroughfares.

The new Spruce Way opened Nov. 2 on what was formerly the 1.5-mile portion of SR 444 passing on federal land through the base. Signage for the repaved and repainted roadway is being completed, said Fred Tito, a design manager in the 88th Civil Engineer Directorate (CE) and manager of the project.

Spruce Way now connects from Chidlaw Road, running behind the Hope Hotel and Richard C. Holbrooke Conference Center, onto the former SR 444. Spruce Way, with its newly designated bike lanes, 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.

"Getting people used to using the new Spruce Way instead of coming down Talbott and Schuster roads will help relieve some of the traffic," Mr. Tito said. "Gate 9A is open at the end of Estabrook Road. Leaving from the Wright-Patterson Medical Center and that area, you can turn left onto Spruce Way, and drive to Kittyhawk. That will more evenly distribute traffic," he said.

"Obviously the area is still under construction, and patience would be appreciated. There are definitely people in places where they won't be in the future. Taking a little bit of extra time and being courteous would be encouraged."

The remaining, northern portion of Spruce Way between Gates 8A/38A is scheduled to open at the end of the work day Nov. 16, Mr. Tito said, with a ceremony marking the project's completion and the opening of the new Gate 1A planned for Nov. 19. Already the white canopy sheltering the new gate's prefabricated guard shack is complete. Places for bollards have been installed, and the 88th Communications Group is installing the 88th Security Forces Squadron's security equipment at the guard shack, Mr. Tito said.

In Kittyhawk Center, traffic near the Kittyhawk Express is being monitored, he said, at the intersection of Oak and Chestnut streets. The guard shack near the intersection will be demolished eventually to create space for movement, he said.

"We're definitely watching that stop sign, at lunch time and at the end of the day when traffic tends to build up; we don't want people to be sitting there forever," Mr. Tito said.
The timing of the Spruce Way traffic signal at the Gates 9A and 38A is being tweaked, too, to optimize traffic flow.

"We'll see a lot of improvement once the new Gate1A opens. It'll be a better point of distributing traffic," Mr. Tito said.

A final aspect of the SR 444 project is work to add another left-hand turn lane from SR 444 into Gate 12A. Funding has been approved and the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), which has jurisdiction over the traffic signal there, is on board. ODOT has approved CE's plan to create double left-hand turn lanes, and they are expected to be in place by the end of November.

"I am happy with how the project has gone," Mr. Tito said. "It will be good to get the new gate opened and drivers used to the new layout. Civil Engineering and Security Forces will continue to monitor the area following the project completion and make changes where required."

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