MacDill discusses gate traffic in town hall

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Vernon L. Fowler Jr.
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing public affairs
Traffic congestion at the four main entrances Dale Mabry Gate; Tanker Way Gate; Bayshore Gate; and MacDill Gate, on MacDill Air Force Base, Florida has been a major concern for the members of Team MacDill.

To discuss the problem and potential solutions, MacDill AFB held a town hall in the base theater on August 3, 2015.

Various speakers were utilized to provide different perspectives and a wide range of knowledge on the gate issue and what was being done to fix it. The town hall began with the problem being defined in three categories: constraints, necessary delays and unnecessary delays.

"We appreciate your willingness to join us today and offer feedback on the traffic concerns for our on- and off-base members, their families and the local communities," said Col. Joel Gartner, 6th Mission Support Group commander, as he welcomed those in attendance. "Our efforts to enhance traffic flow cover multiple lines of effort, from technology, to data collection, to driver preparedness and awareness."

MacDill's four gates are open to inbound traffic from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. Approximately 6,000 vehicles arrive through these gates every morning. A six-month observation period was conducted at each of the gates to measure average vehicle throughputs, wait times, and the percentage of total rush traffic at each gate.

"The Continuous Process Improvement office is overseeing the ongoing traffic study. The weekly study shows that individuals can wait in traffic from 0 to 31 minutes depending on variable conditions, such as weather, holiday and school breaks, turn-arounds or other unforeseen activity at MacDill's entry control points," said Ginny Modglin, 6th Force Support Squadron management analyst. "The peak of morning traffic is from 6:45 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. The study will continue until February 2016 with the assistance of Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority to further collect data and access a traffic solution."

Once the findings and figures were shared, the efforts being made to correct the problem were discussed. Currently there are talks of developing a Gate Wait app to inform drivers each morning of the potential wait time to enter MacDill at each of the four gates. Additionally, the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority is conducting studies of the gate wait and physical throughput, current and emerging technology, and cost estimates among other things.

"We're researching a variety of projects to put information in the hands of commuters so they can efficiently plan their routes to MacDill," said Frederick Fallman, 6th Mission Support Group deputy director. "From locally developed smart phone apps to the potential for electronic displays on the crosstown, we have a wide range of options being considered."

Before concluding the presentation and opening for a question and answer session, MacDill's road construction phasing plan was revealed. Starting in September 2015, MacDill will undergo road construction to create more lanes, and repair culverts and parking lots to alleviate traffic congestion. The construction plan is scheduled to be completed in September 2016.

"Improving MacDill's streets and paved surfaces has been an ongoing effort for the last several years," said Robert Hughes, 6th Civil Engineer Squadron director. "The project phases that are currently in progress will complete a multi-year investment to improve security and circulation at the northeast area on the base."