Fort Bragg works to fix gridlock
August 17, 2009
When Fort Bragg was designated in 1922, an automobile was a rare sight. When the transportation infrastructure of the installation was developed 50 years ago, there still weren't that many cars on the road. Now, as Fort Bragg prepares for the influx of more people as part of the base realignment and closure program, traffic is a major issue and one that the garrison leadership is focusing on.
"I think traffic is going to be a challenge," said Col. Stephen Sicinski, Fort Bragg garrison commander. "I'm not sure it will be the worst challenge with BRAC, but definitely a challenge."
To address the current and future traffic issues, Fort Bragg tasked the Onyx Group based out of Alexandria, Va. with developing a get-well traffic plan.
"I think they have some great initiatives, both short-term and long-term," said Sicinski.
The initiatives address adding high occupancy vehicle lanes at some access control points, improving the timing of traffic lights, alternative transportation, car pooling and restructuring intersections. As one of the easiest and less costly measures to implement, the ACP HOV lanes will most likely be one of the first measures commuters will see implemented.
One of the primary focuses of the initiative is reducing the number of vehicles driving on and around Fort Bragg.
"In the short term, we have to lay the foundation and figure out how to change patterns of behavior," said Sicinski. "We need to set the policy, encouraging employees to car pool and drive less."
Plans to encourage commuters to use car and van pools include offering incentives like HOV lanes, possible monetary compensation and preferred parking.
To address daily traffic on Fort Bragg, the on post shuttle bus system is adding seven hybrid electric buses to allow employees to run errands and go to lunch in a timely fashion, without requiring them to get in their car. Sicinski compared this service to an effective city transit system and plans to add seven more buses in 2010.
Some of the long-term fixes include adding turning lanes to some of Fort Bragg's most traveled roads and promoting bicycle usage by adding bike lanes and trails.
The plans also address safety issues, including restructuring two of Fort Bragg's most dangerous intersections.
"To address the traffic safety issues at the intersection of Plank and Wayside, it is already funded to add a signal there and turning lanes," said Glen Prillaman, master planner, Directorate of Public Works.
Tom McCollum, public affairs officer, garrison public affairs, added that more than $350,000 has also been funded to improve the intersection at Butner and Reilly roads.
The garrison commander said addressing the increasing traffic is an important task.
"We can't afford to be gridlocked, not with the mission here at Fort Bragg," said Sicinski.