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Liberty Gate construction this summer - avoid it if you can

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Construction plans this summer at the Liberty Gate on Lewis Main, off exit 120 of Interstate 5, have officials asking drivers to avoid that entrance and exit to the base when possible.

Outbound traffic and two of the four inbound lanes at Liberty Gate will be closed for construction June 1 through the end of September.

The parking area at the Lewis Main Visitor Center also will be undergoing construction during the third phase of the project. A temporary center will be constructed and is expected to be available during that portion of the project, according to Matt Weeks, civil engineer and project manager for Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s Directorate of Public Works.

The third phase should begin in the end of July, Weeks said.

Although it might be a bit of a hassle for some who normally use that gate, there are several other gates available for use, including the DuPont Gate, exit 119; Madigan Gate, exit 122; Logistics Gate, exit 123; Lewis North Gate, exit 120; and, the McChord Field Gate, exit 125.

“It might be confusing for the first few days, but (drivers) figure it out and will start using another gate,” Weeks said. “From there on out, it should flow and shouldn’t be a problem.”

Although repaving was done at the DuPont Gate about five years ago, there has not been another similar gate project in several years at least. The DuPont Gate project wasn’t nearly as complicated as the upcoming Liberty Gate project, Weeks said.

Construction is not expected to cause major problems for the nearly 30,000 people who travel in and out of the Liberty Gate daily, he said.

“It’s a pretty sizable project, but we typically plan for just about every contingency, so no, I’m not expecting any big problems,” Weeks said.

The construction project is necessary to:

• repair failing pavement,

• improve lane alignment,

• improve the Lewis Main Visitors Center parking area,

• make improvements to the Access Control Point appearance,

• make improvements to the historic Camp Lewis Gate appearance.

Although the project is fairly straightforward and expected to be less confusing after the first few days of construction, Weeks said there is one thing for drivers to remember during the four month project:

“Don’t go through the (Liberty Gate) if you don’t have to,” he said.

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