Air Guard unveils new security gate for all-weather inspection in Bangor

This story was published on Sept. 03, 2004 on Page B1 in all editions of the Bangor Daily News

BANGOR – Fueling trucks coming through for inspections at the Maine Air National Guard’s 101st Refueling Wing no longer will be subjected to unpredictable Maine weather following the recent construction of a brand new gate and inspection facility at the base.

Security measures will remain more or less the same, but inspectors are now better equipped to perform their duties, Col. Don Reynolds, base commander, said Thursday.

“Before this, when trucks came up, our security [personnel] would have to climb up on the trucks for inspections,” Reynolds said. “In the winter, [trucks] were all full of snow and ice, which made it very dangerous for [inspectors].”

“We wanted to give them a facility where they could get out of the weather.”

The project – contracted by Nickerson & O’Day Inc. of Brewer and designed and engineered by Ames A/E of Bangor – was conceived last fall and formally opened Thursday with a ceremony. It includes an enclosed structure where trucks can pull in to be inspected and a much larger gatehouse.

“We do a lot of military design work, but this is definitely unique,” Brian Ames of Ames A/E said of the two structures. “You don’t do this in the civilian world.”

“We probably won’t do too many more of these,” added Kevin Gresser of Nickerson & O’Day.

The entrance to the gate also was redesigned to include a “serpentine approach to prevent fast-moving vehicles from impacting directly into the facility,” Ames said.

The project’s $700,000 price tag was funded mostly by the National Guard Bureau in Washington D.C. Reynolds said he also used a small amount from his own budget.

The gatehouse allows the base to separate incoming car and truck traffic and includes something it didn’t have before: a bathroom.

Reynolds said most of the traffic that comes through the base includes fuel trucks. The car traffic consists primarily of military personnel.

He said most of the problems stem from out-of-state truck drivers unfamiliar with the Bangor base or drunk drivers who are simply lost.

In addition to the structures, the guard base has been equipped with new electronics, but Reynolds declined to comment on their specifics.

“We have things we didn’t have before so we can keep a better eye on things and do a better job inspecting,” Reynolds said.

Finding a home for the new equipment was a challenge at times, but Gresser said the contractors, designers and guard officials worked efficiently to address problems.

“This building has a lot of features in a small package,” he said. “There is a lot of security and electronics with a limited space to put it in.”