Hansen celebrates new main gate opening

By Patrick CiccaroneMarch 24, 2023

From left to right, Mr. Joseph Scala, Camp Hansen’s Camp Director, Ms. Aiko Shimajiri, Japanese House of Representatives member, Marine Corps Installations Pacific (MCIPAC) Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Stephen E. Liszewski, Okinawa Defense Bureau (ODB) Director, Mr. Isao Ono, Camp Hansen’s Commander, Marine Col. Rich Martin, and Kin Town Mayor, Mr. Hajime Nakama, stand poised to cut a ribbon during the Camp Hansen main gate opening ceremony, Wednesday, March 22nd, 2023. The ribbon-cutting ceremony was the culmination of over 4-and-a-half-years of planning and construction to provide residents of Okinawa an easier commute in the local area of Kin Town and Camp Hansen. Photo by Patrick Ciccarone.
1 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – From left to right, Mr. Joseph Scala, Camp Hansen’s Camp Director, Ms. Aiko Shimajiri, Japanese House of Representatives member, Marine Corps Installations Pacific (MCIPAC) Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Stephen E. Liszewski, Okinawa Defense Bureau (ODB) Director, Mr. Isao Ono, Camp Hansen’s Commander, Marine Col. Rich Martin, and Kin Town Mayor, Mr. Hajime Nakama, stand poised to cut a ribbon during the Camp Hansen main gate opening ceremony, Wednesday, March 22nd, 2023. The ribbon-cutting ceremony was the culmination of over 4-and-a-half-years of planning and construction to provide residents of Okinawa an easier commute in the local area of Kin Town and Camp Hansen. Photo by Patrick Ciccarone. (Photo Credit: Patrick Ciccarone) VIEW ORIGINAL
The completed Camp Hansen main gate entranceway following a ribbon-cutting ceremony, March 22nd, 2023. House of Representatives member Ms. Aiko Shimajiri, Mr. Hajime Nakama, Okinawa Defense Bureau (ODB) Director, Mr. Isao Ono, III Marine Expeditionary Force (3rd MEF) Commanding Officer, Lt. Gen. James W. Bierman, MCIPAC Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Stephen E. Liszewski, and Camp Hansen’s Commander, Marine Col. Rich Martin were all in attendance for the ceremony, which celebrated the opening of the gate, and the alleviation of traffic issues in the local Kin Town region of Okinawa. Photo by Patrick Ciccarone.
2 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The completed Camp Hansen main gate entranceway following a ribbon-cutting ceremony, March 22nd, 2023. House of Representatives member Ms. Aiko Shimajiri, Mr. Hajime Nakama, Okinawa Defense Bureau (ODB) Director, Mr. Isao Ono, III Marine Expeditionary Force (3rd MEF) Commanding Officer, Lt. Gen. James W. Bierman, MCIPAC Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Stephen E. Liszewski, and Camp Hansen’s Commander, Marine Col. Rich Martin were all in attendance for the ceremony, which celebrated the opening of the gate, and the alleviation of traffic issues in the local Kin Town region of Okinawa. Photo by Patrick Ciccarone. (Photo Credit: Patrick Ciccarone) VIEW ORIGINAL
An aerial photo of the completed Marine Corps Installations Pacific (MCIPAC) Camp Hansen main gate area, with surrounded interchange and overpass, located near Kin Town, Okinawa. The construction project, a collaboration between the U.S. and Japanese governments, built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Japan Engineer District (USACE JED) and part of the Alliance Transformation and Realignment Agreement (ATARA) program, known now as the Defense Policy Review Initiative (DPRI), was completed in under 3-years, and totaled $163 million. The completion of this project will relieve traffic congestion around the local Kin Town area, while providing commuting U.S. servicemembers, contractors, and family members, an easier passage to home and work. Courtesy photo by the USACE JED Okinawa Area Office (OAO).
3 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – An aerial photo of the completed Marine Corps Installations Pacific (MCIPAC) Camp Hansen main gate area, with surrounded interchange and overpass, located near Kin Town, Okinawa. The construction project, a collaboration between the U.S. and Japanese governments, built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Japan Engineer District (USACE JED) and part of the Alliance Transformation and Realignment Agreement (ATARA) program, known now as the Defense Policy Review Initiative (DPRI), was completed in under 3-years, and totaled $163 million. The completion of this project will relieve traffic congestion around the local Kin Town area, while providing commuting U.S. servicemembers, contractors, and family members, an easier passage to home and work. Courtesy photo by the USACE JED Okinawa Area Office (OAO). (Photo Credit: Patrick Ciccarone) VIEW ORIGINAL
An aerial shot of the construction site where Marine Corps Installations Pacific (MCIPAC) Camp Hansen’s new main gate and surrounding overpass and interchange will be built, dated February of 2021. The construction project, a collaboration between the U.S. and Japanese governments, built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Japan Engineer District (USACE JED) and part of the Alliance Transformation and Realignment Agreement (ATARA) program, known now as the Defense Policy Review Initiative (DPRI), was completed in under 3-years, and totaled $163 million. Courtesy photo by the USACE JED Okinawa Area Office (OAO).
4 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – An aerial shot of the construction site where Marine Corps Installations Pacific (MCIPAC) Camp Hansen’s new main gate and surrounding overpass and interchange will be built, dated February of 2021. The construction project, a collaboration between the U.S. and Japanese governments, built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Japan Engineer District (USACE JED) and part of the Alliance Transformation and Realignment Agreement (ATARA) program, known now as the Defense Policy Review Initiative (DPRI), was completed in under 3-years, and totaled $163 million. Courtesy photo by the USACE JED Okinawa Area Office (OAO). (Photo Credit: Patrick Ciccarone) VIEW ORIGINAL

CAMP HANSEN, OKINAWA, Japan – A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held under the warm Okinawan sun, at Marine Corps Installations Pacific (MCIPAC) Camp Hansen, Wednesday, March 22nd.

Camp Hansen’s new main gate opening was the result of a project several years in the making, part of the Alliance Transformation and Realignment Agreement (ATARA) program, known now as the Defense Policy Review Initiative (DPRI), brought to completion by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Japan Engineer District Okinawa Area Office (USACE JED OAO) Project Delivery Team (PDT).

“It is such a great pleasure for our local Okinawan residents that one of our long-standing concerns has been resolved with the completion of these access roads and main gate,” said Okinawa prefecture’s Kin Town Mayor, Mr. Hajime Nakama. “I want to express my sincerest gratitude to everyone for their efforts [on this project].”

House of Representatives member Ms. Aiko Shimajiri, Mr. Hajime Nakama, Okinawa Defense Bureau (ODB) Director, Mr. Isao Ono, III Marine Expeditionary Force (3rd MEF) Commanding Officer, Lt. Gen. James W. Bierman, MCIPAC Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Stephen E. Liszewski, and Camp Hansen’s Commander, Marine Col. Rich Martin were all in attendance for the event.

“The completion of this interchange is the culmination of 4-and-a-half years of hard work for JED – the Alliance Transformation and Realignment Agreement (ATARA) program and Okinawa Consolidation initiative (OkiCon) has brought immense positive change to Okinawa over the last decade and beyond, with innumerous MILCON projects being completed and ongoing,” said USACE JED Deputy Commander, Maj. Chelsea O’Nan.

The impetus for Camp Hansen’s main gate stemmed from the OkiCon initiative, which defined a partial return of six facilities and areas designated in the U.S. – Japan Security Consultative Committee (SCC) statement dating back to 2007, during which the Government of Japan sought to accelerate the construction of a new gate for the Marine Corps.

“This project required meticulous coordination between [organizations such as the] ODB, West Nippon Expressway Co., Ltd. (NEXCO), among others,” said Takashi “Ray” Okuma, a project engineer for USACE JED’s Ryukyu Resident Office. “[Communications] concerning construction work involved crossing over respective areas of responsibility, such as privity utility rerouting, road expansion, and scheduling/curtailing traffic for toll roads to enable construction.”

The scope of the project – massive. JED’s Engineers had their work cut out for them.

“This represented much more than just a way for people to commute from on-and-off Camp Hansen,” said Maj. Gen. Liszewski. “It represents a partnership and mutual respect between communities whose histories have aligned for over 60 years. The existence of [this overpass] shows that we can listen to each other, turn discussions into actions that can positively change the lives of thousands of people every day.”

Decided over a period of many meetings and discussions led by U.S. Forces Japan (USFJ) the Japanese Ministry of Defense (MOD), and at the local level led by Pacific Ocean Japan (POJ), USMC and ODB, the POJ team’s proposal to separate the project scope into two execution packages for basic criteria package (BCP) and design developments were agreed between the U.S. government (USG) and the government of Japan (GOJ).

This allowed an accelerated start to the bridge design and construction, and thus to the overall gate completion.

Broken into two phases consisting of roads and bridges stretching from an overwatch facility toward the main base, PDT would then construct a main Entry Control Facility (ECF) consisting of access ramps connecting to expressway interchange ramps, overpass bridges, visitor centers, guard houses, inspection facilities and various support facilities, at the west perimeter of Camp Hansen. The ECF area was to be connected to the main Camp Hansen via a 242-meter-long precast concrete bridge structure.

“We went through so many hurdles and challenges during the design, which [via] the PDTs hard work, and DPRI and the using agency’s cooperation we were able to overcome,” said Masakazu Kuniyoshi, a project manager for the OAO, also affectionately known as “Red.” “The project is unique and is totally different from any installation main gates that I’ve seen, so I feel proud for being part of it.”

Among the other requirements included, but not limited to was, a visitor Center, two (2) inbound vehicle lanes with two (2) gate houses (one per inbound lane), two (2) outbound lanes, commercial and privately owned vehicle (POV) inspection area with screening from off-base observation, active and passive vehicle barriers, new roads, overpasses and bridges, and security fences and gates.

Because of the large-scale nature of this project, with so many moving parts and interested parties, OAO’s PDT really had to flex both their construction, and mental muscles. POJ’s experienced PDT Engineers worked together to push forward with a modified BCP / Design process for the bridge structure, since the Japanese structural criteria is standard and well-defined in host nation funded construction projects, thereby advancing the project while still ensuring that the USG requirements could be addressed appropriately during the design stage.

“[For example,] planning for a permanent concrete bridge right next to a temporary steel bridge was challenging, but everyone was open to outside-the-box ideas,” mentioned Bill Prout, Project Manager during the BCP stage and a project/program manager in the Okinawa Host Nation branch at JED’s OAO. “Since the Concrete bridge structure itself was going to take a long time to design and build, USG and MOD coordinated and agreed to a modified BCP / Design process concurrently for the bridge – that allowed the remaining ECF details to be coordinated.”

Phase 1 entered the BCP - design portion in May of 2019. Along with OkiCon concurrence thereafter, the green light was given for implementation in May of 2020.

Phase 2, whose design process began in June of 2020, was similarly run through the ringer, with the Okinawa Defense Bureau playing a large part in the proposal, reaching its project implementation in August of 2021.

POJ’s program and project manager (PM), and the design PDT involved the POJ’s construction engineers early in the process to clearly define the work in the design drawings. Additionally, they obtained the USFJ action officer and USMC stakeholder’s acceptance to GOJ’s proposal.

“All stakeholders [including] Kin Town, the Ministry of Defense/Okinawa Defense Bureau (ODB), and the U.S. Marine Corps, were really pushing this ‘win-win’ project to give the USMC easier access to Camp Hansen and alleviate traffic in the local town center,” said Prout. “Everyone was 100% motivated to get this project done as fast possible, and that made it a really special and enjoyable project to work on.”

Contrary to typical MILCON design and construction efforts, GOJ awards design and construction work by the engineering disciplines to separate contractors. This makes clear scope documentation critical in host nation funded construction (HNFC) projects to ensure consistency and coordination between engineering disciplines, and clearly define construction work activities, including any overlapping features of work.

“The OAO (JED) and ODB (GOJ) working relationships only grow stronger when coordinating and administering such a complex construction project to completion,” said Eric Fino, a Host Nation OAO Engineer.

Of course, among the many other challenges present, communication was key, and so OAO’s team ensured all organizations were kept up to date with the most current changes to the project.

“DPRI, OkiCon CM, Camp Hansen’s director, Hansen PMO, and OAO coordinated in addressing security concerns to ODB in a timely manner, on [many] issues,” said Okuma. “Requests for information (RFI) and change order (CO) documents [were among the items sent] for their immediate review and action.”

After years of effort and of course with the help of so many dedicated parties, JED’s OAO was able to bring the Camp Hansen main gate project to completion, on time and under budget – as is the way of USACE JED.

“The monumental construction project totaling $163 million and built under the alliance partnership between the OAO and the ODB was completed in just under 3-years,” noted Fino. “During this 3-year construction period the local town of Kin experienced no [negative] impacts to their community, and the benefits of direct access to Camp Hansen alleviates local traffic congestion to neighboring Kin Town, which [will] have everlasting effects to both nations.”

Highlighting the positive impact JED’s project has had on the community, Maj. O’Nan shared some closing comments.

“Camp Hansen’s new main gate will be a fantastic step in the right direction for providing some relief to our Okinawan neighbors, while simultaneously giving our American servicemembers, contractors, and families a way to commute to-and-fro,” said O’Nan. “Our Japanese partners have contributed so much to the success of our alliance, and we truly couldn’t ask for better hosts. To our Engineers who have tirelessly worked on completing our MILCON projects from cradle to grave, I thank you for all your hard work and continued service. Thank you all, ESSAYONS!”