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Furloughs cause major traffic delays at Fort Gordon

Monday, July 8, 2013 2:09 PM
Last updated Tuesday, July 9, 2013 1:54 AM
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Fort Gordon leaders convened emergency meetings Mon­day to devise a plan to ease congested traffic at its security gates, which – because of civilian furloughs – lacked the guards needed to handle lines of commuters that stretched more than three miles at times.

At the height of rush hour Mon­day morning, cars and commercial trucks extended from Gate 1, the primary entrance, past Wrightsboro Road near Interstate 20. The gridlock left some reporting to work two hours late and officials scrambling to create a long-term plan to better serve the estimated 40,000 vehicles the Army post clears each day.

The solution was to redistribute some guards and military policemen to reopen Gate 2 – a commercial entrance that could help control tractor-trailer deliveries – during morning and afternoon commuting hours, spokesman J.C. Mathews said.

“While this change will not significantly increase the inbound capacity of our gates, it will redistribute some of the traffic that converged on Gate 1, Gordon Highway and Jimmie Dyess Parkway Monday morning and possibly eliminate another chokepoint from occurring,” Mathews said.

When news broke in May that the Defense Department planned to furlough civilian employees 11 days to make up $37 billion in cuts from sequestration, Mathews said Fort Gordon began to train military personnel to fill in for the 35 security guards subject to unpaid leave.

However, last week federal officials said it was against department policy to divert military personnel from their normal jobs to fill in for furloughed civilians. Fort Gordon is seeking clarification but has not received any yet, Mathews said.

The post resorted to Plan B: Close all gates except 1 and 5 at the start of furloughs Monday.

Mathews said the furloughs cost the post a security guard one day each week, along with the overtime hours necessary to keep gates open.

“We knew we would have to do some re-evaluation as the process unfolded, but I do not think anyone could have predicted the amount of traffic we had converging on the area today,” he said.

He said the post received no complaint from local authorities Monday about backed-up traffic at the installation.

The good news at Fort Gordon was that supervisors understood arrival times would be unpredictable and no employee was penalized for tardiness.

Col. Robert A. Barker, Fort Gordon’s garrison commander, said the post regrets any inconvenience or disruptions.

“However, while the furlough is in effect, we have no alternative to closing these gates,” he said. “We will return to normal gate operating policies as soon as possible.”

GATES’ SCHEDULE

Gate 2, accessible off East Robinson Avenue in Grovetown, will be open from 5:30 to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday for inbound and outbound traffic. It will reopen from 3 to 6:30 p.m. each afternoon for outbound traffic only. Gate 2 will remain closed at all other times and on weekends.

Hours of operation for Gate 1 and Gate 5 remain the same. Gate 1 will remain open 24 hours, and Gate 5 will be open from 4:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily. Gate 3 will remain closed and commercial traffic will continue to access Fort Gordon via Gate 1.

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Little Lamb
45932
Points
Little Lamb 07/08/13 - 02:18 pm
4
0
Brain Surgery

This does not require a brain surgeon nor a rocket scientist. If you have to furlough everyone one day a week, then close the base one day a week.

DamnYankee
70
Points
DamnYankee 07/08/13 - 02:25 pm
8
0
Brain Resection

Not all services can be "closed" at the same time. All ER docs cannot have the same day off, etc.

It's not brain surgery, you are right. Fire the people in D.C. who made all this waste possible.

Little Lamb
45932
Points
Little Lamb 07/08/13 - 03:09 pm
5
0
NSA

True, the ER must be kept open, as well as the ICU.

But you can't tell me that the free world will collapse if they shut down the NSA building one day a week.

And all those bureaucratic office hounds — no one would even notice that the office was closed every Monday.

wisemom
20
Points
wisemom 07/08/13 - 07:24 pm
8
0
Working at Ft. Gordon (or trying to)

Please get the facts straight the line of traffic down Jimmy Dyes was at least 3.5 to 4 miles long by 7:15 am. A drive that normally takes me 20 - 30 minutes took 3 hours and 45 minutes today. The inconvenience isn't a MAY situation COL Barker, it is a reality. Not only am I now suppose to fit 40 hours of work into a 32 hour work week - I'm spending almost 3 hours idling in traffic trying to get to my job. Way to go congressmen and senators!

Riverman1
83813
Points
Riverman1 07/08/13 - 08:08 pm
6
4
It should be way to go

It should be way to go President Obama, since it's his idea.

Riverman1
83813
Points
Riverman1 07/08/13 - 08:18 pm
2
0
So should it be okay tomorrow

So should it be okay tomorrow morning? Anyone have a handle on it?

mrenee2003
2946
Points
mrenee2003 07/08/13 - 08:20 pm
3
11
Hey

where are the supporters of limited government? This is what ya'll wanted!!

gargoyle
16989
Points
gargoyle 07/08/13 - 08:57 pm
9
1
If the army personnel can't

If the army personnel can't be used to secure a army base, is it time to call in the national guard. Wisemom the higher pay grade people don't want you to get the job done. It seems like they are trying to make a point , if no raise in the debit ceiling we can make it hurt. Government cause a problem to get the solution you want strategem

studmuffin1533
280
Points
studmuffin1533 07/08/13 - 09:55 pm
4
3
MPs?

I'm sure that posting MPs would be a lot cheaper than paying the overpaid contractors. Anyone have any idea on how much the feds are getting billed for each hour of "security" provided by these retirees? Would be a good question to pose to congressman Barrow.

How do you figure this was Obama's idea? Thought it was the gang of eight.

dichotomy
32906
Points
dichotomy 07/08/13 - 10:39 pm
7
2
"where are the supporters of

"where are the supporters of limited government? This is what ya'll wanted!!"

Dumb question. If you will remember, we did not want to cut the military any more but the Democrats insisted and would not prioritize the cuts sensibly.......like they have ever done anything sensibly.......like Obamacare. They had to make the cuts to see what was in the cuts.

Little Lamb
45932
Points
Little Lamb 07/08/13 - 10:47 pm
4
1
Who caused the traffic lines?

Cub reporter Wesley Brown reported:

Fort Gordon leaders convened emergency meetings Mon­day to devise a plan to ease congested traffic at its security gates. . . .

No shock, Sherlock. It was Fort Gordon "leaders" who caused congested traffic at its security gates. This reminds me of the strategy used by the Soviets - - - use civilian thugs to cause civil unrest in a country, then move the military in and try to gain the trust of the people by showing you can stop the violence you yourselves created. Obama's apple didn't fall very far from Stalin's tree.

TrulyWorried
14165
Points
TrulyWorried 07/09/13 - 12:06 am
3
2
Ft Gordon Traffic dilemma

Obama had to visit his homeland at a clip of 1 million dollars - that would have kept ALL the military installation gates open during those forced furlough days and not shut down the White House. DC has its priorities sort of mixed up. Africa could have waited.

David59
6
Points
David59 07/09/13 - 12:12 am
3
8
Wrong Riverman1

This wasnt the presidents idea to cut funding it was mostly this new and very much insane generation of republicans in congress though the democrats arent lily white in this either as they could be more willing to trim some social programs by making them work better as should the republicans for the military.
But what ticks me off right now the most is I think we are being played by the base commanders as I believe they did this on purpose today precisely to cause the most frustration for the maximum amount of people in order to rally the people to call their representatives and complain.

Riverman1
83813
Points
Riverman1 07/09/13 - 04:08 am
9
3
Wrong David59

Sequester most certainly was this Obama's idea in response to Republicans not raising the debt. It was also the Dems who wanted the sequester to mostly affect the military. Yeah, this "very much insane" Obama, back at ya.

corgimom
32303
Points
corgimom 07/09/13 - 05:30 am
3
2
LL, an Army post never

LL, an Army post never closes. It would be the equivalent of saying that everything, all businesses, all services, all supermarkets, all utilitiy workers, all maintenance workers, every single building in the City of Augusta should close for a day and no work be done by anybody at all. That would result in chaos.

An Army post really is a small city, and it goes 365 days a year. It's not just a big office business. A large portion of the Fort operates 24 hours a day.

Anon-a-mouse
20
Points
Anon-a-mouse 07/09/13 - 06:07 am
7
0
Poor Leadership and Planning Cause Major Traffic Delays

The real headline for this article

oldfella
620
Points
oldfella 07/09/13 - 06:36 am
2
0
Article is wrong about Gate 2

Yes, the FUBAR from yesterday is fixed (or at least made a little better) as far as delays starting today. Actually they opened up Gate 2 in the afternoon so leaving post yesterday wasn't as painful as entering it. But the article said Gate 2 is designed for commercial traffic, and this is not accurate. Gate 3 has always been the gate for large delivery trucks and vehicles/commercial traffic as well as normal traffic occasionally, but they can use Gate 1 for commercial traffic too. Regardless I'm quite sure somebody at the top crunched the numbers and realized Monday would be chaotic. Putting out information on Friday afternoon on a four-day weekend assured that. Regardless, even if you knew ahead of time the average commuter would still have to take a guess at when to leave their home and how long the delay would be or whether to use Gate 5 instead of Gate 1, etc.

Truth Matters
6824
Points
Truth Matters 07/09/13 - 07:16 am
4
5
Ft. Gordon and sequestration

At 7:25 am on Monday, traffic on Tobacco Road was relatively slow, at least to Morgan Rd. People in line for 2 hrs could have driven to another gate; not necessarily convenient, but an alternative. Hopefully it's better today.

The president gets the blame for believing that Republicans cared enough about people to not allow the sequestration to go through. I could have told him that Mitch McConnell was dead serious about making him a one term president, even if he won reelection.

I remember the House Speaker saying that he got about 99% of what he wanted in this deal. Well, he needs to own the hardship, also.

When the president went around warning about the hardships of the sequestration, many on this page and the GOP said he was trying to scare the people and that sequestration wouldn't be that bad---in fact some of you said bring it on. The House chair of the Transportation committee pretended that no one told Congress that there would be lines and delays at the airports. But there were many tapes of Secretary LaHood warning of just that.

So I would say there is plenty of blame to go around. But for those of you who want the GOP to rise out of this with clean hands, the tapes don't lie.

Truth Matters
6824
Points
Truth Matters 07/09/13 - 07:27 am
3
1
Call representatives

People should call their representatives and complain. When they wanted to fly home a couple of months ago, they wasted no time waiving furloughs for air traffic controllers so the high and mighty reps wouldn't be inconvenienced. These people do not care if "John Q Public" has to wait in line. They do understand pressure.

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 07/09/13 - 07:27 am
7
2
"How do you figure this was
Unpublished

"How do you figure this was Obama's idea? Thought it was the gang of eight."

No....Sequestration was Obama's idea. And above that, Congress TRIED to give Obama discretion as to what was and was not cut, but he declined, because he wanted the cuts to hurt.

WAG
287
Points
WAG 07/09/13 - 07:40 am
3
0
OMG it is an Army base let

OMG it is an Army base let the military man the gates like they have for many years! When my dad was in service you never saw a civilian at the gate... Big government do something! Cut your salary!

LillyfromtheMills
13236
Points
LillyfromtheMills 07/09/13 - 07:54 am
3
0
I'm surprised the Commander of FG

Would allow this to happen- 40K (?) folks trying to come in two gates At 7:00 is just plain nuts - in the past work hours were staggered.

Little Lamb
45932
Points
Little Lamb 07/09/13 - 07:57 am
2
0
What's the problem?

The time-honored motto of the U.S. Army is, “Hurry up and wait!

grinder48
1954
Points
grinder48 07/09/13 - 08:03 am
0
0
Brilliant!
Unpublished

obama can vacation in Africa for $100 million but we have to furlough honest, hard working people, creating chaos in the process. That's just great!

LillyfromtheMills
13236
Points
LillyfromtheMills 07/09/13 - 08:06 am
0
0
LL

That is a fact!

deestafford
27564
Points
deestafford 07/09/13 - 08:27 am
2
1
I would like to think Ft Gordon's top leadership had thought

this out in advanced and had to respond as directed by higher headquarters as to not letting military replace civilians as a result of DOD policy. However, because Ft Gordon did not put the word out clearly and timely as to this action, it causes me to question how well the top at the post planned or how good ability they have to anticipate problems.

This thing shows pressure all the way from DOD down to inflict as much pain as possible. This sequester WAS obama's idea. It was a bluff which he did not think would be called...it was...and then he refused to accept the authority from Congress to implement the cuts where they would caused the least amount of pain. That's like giving an alcoholic the authority to not drink Jack Daniels.

Lord, I hope the Ft Gordon leadership is better at war planning than it is with something as simple as this. I cannot imagine General Patton letting something like this happen. Of course, he was not a political general as we have in the military now beginning with the Chairman of the Joint Chief, the Chief of Staff of the Army, on down. The generals of today are running scared of the politicians.

nocnoc
42520
Points
nocnoc 07/09/13 - 08:38 am
3
0
Drove out yesterday

Entered 12:30pm (lunch time )via Gate 5.
I was the 3d vehicle in line.
I asked the guard how it was going.
He said no problems.
Total time in line 1 min for ID checks

I guess Gate 5 did not get the memo ☺.

I honestly believe Gate 2/3 closing was nothing more than a Political Stunt that filtered down on orders. They could have closed Gates 2 & 3 at off hours or moved manpower around and accomplished the same reductions with min. disruptions.

I really think, the Brass wants the maximum public pain to be seen. Hoping to start a public push to get their deficit $$$$$ money back.

Young Fred
17448
Points
Young Fred 07/09/13 - 08:39 am
3
0
Deestafford has it correct.

There are only two possible reasons for the size and scope of the mess. Inexcusable incompetence, or as others suggested, they purposely made this hurt in order to make a point.

Spokesman Matthews said this: ““We knew we would have to do some re-evaluation as the process unfolded, but I do not think anyone could have predicted the amount of traffic we had converging on the area today,” he said.”

I’m sorry, but that statement can’t be true. There’s no way any sensible person can believe “anyone could not have predicted the amount of traffic…”. Frankly I’m surprised the Chronicle let that slide.

harley_52
23272
Points
harley_52 07/09/13 - 08:47 am
1
0
Colonel Robert A. Parker....

...blew it, big time.

t3bledsoe
14290
Points
t3bledsoe 07/09/13 - 09:23 am
3
0
Sequestration vs. common sence

I find it very odd and almost too, too convinent that the sequester is like a land-fill,"We must have one, BUT DON'T put in my back yard !!" "The sequester is a good idea as long as it doesn't cut me out off the government give-away "END-LESS" pot of money !!" This solution at Fort Gorden WAS NOT BRAIN SURGURY !! When asked by the news media, "It was stated that most of the furlows would happen on Fridays, so why is there a problem on Monday ??!" Sometime I just think these times of being short-handed is staged so that perticular government agency is trying to prove that they must have all of their share of the pot !

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