FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Want to help reduce the wait time at an access control point in the mornings' Interested in reducing Fort Bragg's carbon footprint' Drivers will be able to do so by using high occupancy vehicle access control points on the installation.

The first HOV ACP has been planned for Yadkin Road and will be operational by Jan. 3, 2010. The outside lane will be designated as an HOV lane from 5 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

"HOVs are identified as vehicles with two persons or more," said Tim Shea, Directorate of Logistics transportation chief.

Studies indicate that congestion on post is a recurring concern with 19 of 57 intersections currently failing to handle the volume of traffic passing through it. By 2015, those numbers are expected to significantly increase with 42 of 57 projected intersection failures.

"HOV access will diminish the wait time in getting on the installation and reduce congestion," Shea said. "It will uphold Fort Bragg's sustainability commitment and reduce the number of vehicles on post."

HOV access will also reduce wear on Fort Bragg infrastructure, reduce pollution and the need for new roads, as well as petroleum consumption.

Charles Young, transportation planner, said implementing HOV access control points will be "dirt cheap."

For the 90-day trial period, the cost is estimated to be nearly $13,000 and includes billing for the purchase of HOV lane signage and the rental of solar-powered variable message signs. The VMSs will let drivers know the HOV lane is open and when to shift lanes to access it.

"VMSs will be placed only on Fort Bragg property," said deputy provost marshal C. A. Prouty. "Hopefully one day the North Carolina Department of Transportation will allow the VMSs to be placed further down Yadkin Road."

Drivers who violate the HOV restrictions and enter in the HOV lane without two or more personnel in their vehicle will be turned around at the gate and subject to a citation with a $100 fine under North Carolina General Statute 20-146.2, Prouty said by email. The exception to this law is emergency vehicles, motorcycles or vehicles designed to transport 15 or more passengers regardless of the actual number of occupants.

The HOV ACP pilot program at Yadkin Road is a "soft start," Young said. It will be assessed after the trial period to measure its impact or viability on the base.

"If we see there's no major issue, we can replicate at other gates," said Paul Wirt, chief of the Environmental Branch, Directorate of Public Works.

Other future transportation concepts are planned for the post, Shea said. They include replacing
every possible vehicle with an alternative-fueled vehicle. Flex-fuel vehicles can run on 100 percent gasoline or any blend of up to 85 ethanol.

Young said Fort Bragg's bicycle routes will be improved by allowing access to sites such as Womack Army Medical Center, the North Post Post Exchange, Warrior Transition Battalion barracks and Forces Command.

In the meantime, about 150,000 vehicles travel onto Fort Bragg each day, Young said. HOV ACPs "are really just a huge benefit in reducing Fort Bragg's carbon footprint."