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Road changes scramble gate hours on post

By Bryan Richardson

The renewed pace of construction on K-18 Monday will cause changes in how Ft. Riley handles its traffic flow, including more limited access at the Ogden gate.

Post officials said that beginning March 19, Ft. Riley’s 12th Street gate will become a 24-hour operational gate with inbound traffic only from 5 to 7 a.m. The change is being implemented to facilitate a smoother flow of traffic.

At the same time, the Ogden gate will no longer be a 24-hour operational gate. Normal traffic flow will continue from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Ogden gate will close on all federal holidays, although outbound traffic will still be permitted.

Officials said that at the 12th Street gate, inbound traffic will be divided into two lanes entering the access control point and continuing to Buffalo Soldier Drive. Traffic will then be routed north on Buffalo Soldier Drive to Huebner Road.

The moves are being made in conjunction with the rerouting of traffic along K-18 near Ogden. That rerouting began Monday morning.

“We believe that it’ll be simpler to come in 12th Street gate,” said Chris Ferris, director of emergency services at Ft. Riley. “We’re trying to help as much as we can with the construction traffic.”

Ferris said he wasn’t sure how long the gate changes would last. He said the gates could revert to their normal schedules in November once the construction wraps up for the winter.

Ferris said the goal was to facilitate traffic flow to the extent possible with the new K-18 configuration.

Most of the K-18 changes affect traffic flowing between Manhattan Regional Airport on the east and Ogden on the west with most of the construction happening through late May. It will, however, continue into the fall.

“This is going to be a changing situation all summer,” said Jerry Haug, Kansas Department of Transportation construction manager.

Traveling from Manhattan to Ogden will continue as normal. If heading toward I-70 from K-18, drivers should stay in the left lane to enter onto the newly completed portion of K-18.

Haug said it might be a good idea for people traveling to Junction City to take K-177 to I-70 in the mornings with the fort traffic going into Ogden. “If it’s midday, middle of the afternoon, I believe you’d be fine coming down K-18 and going through the new interchange,” he said.

When exiting Ogden, the left lane will take drivers to Wildcat Creek Road where they will have to turn left; drivers can take Wildcat Creek to Eureka Drive to Scenic Drive. The right lane will force drivers to turn right toward the new Skyway Drive shoofly to access the newly constructed portion of K-18.

Walnut Street’s access to K-18 will be closed for good. By mid-summer, a bridge will be constructed to take Walnut Street traffic over K-18. Also, Davis Drive will remain closed until late 2013, when the project is slated to be completed.

Haug said he anticipates backups exiting Ft. Riley into Ogden during the afternoons. He said it could also be slower when turning right onto Skyway Drive after exiting Ogden. “It’s definitely going to be slowed down at that location,” he said. “But it will be a free right. There’s no reason to stop there.”

Haug advised drivers to follow the sign directions and take their time driving while adjusting to the new procedures. “I think it’s going to take about probably one time through it to understand what it takes to maneuver through there,” he said.

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