Robins morning commute could improve at Russell gate

No more telling the boss you're late for work because you were stuck in traffic.

At least that's the hope for a new traffic plan at Robins Air Force Base, that starts Monday. It may change some people's morning commute.

78th Mission Support Group Commander, Col. Christopher Decker, said about the current morning traffic, "It backs up on 247 and we have had times, where the traffic is backed up on Russell Parkway, all the way to the Wal-Mart stoplight."

Decker says that line of cars can keep drivers waiting 30 to 45 minutes on the worst mornings at the Russell Parkway gate; 15 to 20 minutes on average.

He said, "It has caused people to be late for work. It also causes people to miss appointments at the medical clinic."

Decker says after a bunch brain-storming, they decided to open two additional in-bound lanes at Russell, between 5:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. That brings the total number of lanes to five.

The two added in-bound lanes will be where there's currently outbound traffic.

Drivers will access the new in-bound lanes, to the left of the guard booth, through a gap in the median. It's the spot normally used as a turn-around for cars that did not intend to drive-up to the Russell Gate.

Decker said, "The outbound lanes will be closed, so no outbound traffic during that time period."

Robins employees say the plan might work.

Scheduler from Macon Rick Hill said, "I think it's going to be good, actually."

Mike Tobin, an aircraft mechanic, also like the plan. He said, "Probably a good idea. I always try to avoid the Russell Gate, because its backed up past that traffic light sometimes."

Col. Decker says converting outbound to inbound lanes has worked at other bases. He has every reason to believe it'll be the answer to backed-up lines of brake lights here, too.

He said, "We hope to see results right away. If we do assess this a success, this will be a long-term initiative."

Once in-bound cars are through the Russell Parkway gate, drivers will have to merge from the 5 lanes of traffic down to two.

Outbound traffic should use the MLK or Watson Boulevard Gates, during those peak morning hours.

The Air National Guard gate will be closed to move more guards to the Russell gate.

Again, This change starts Monday, March 17th.


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