New access road, security gate coming to 181st

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – If you drive near the Terre Haute International Airport, you’ll see there’s a lot of construction going on in the area.

There’s economic development on the west side and on the east side we’re talking road construction. There’s lots of work happening to State Road 42 from 46 to the airport.  But also, there’s this new roundabout on SR 42 at Swalls Road. It not only provides a safer route to the Lavern Gibson cross country course, but you’ll see the beginnings of the new road to the 181st Intelligence Wing.

Next month, the Indiana Department of Transportation will take bids on the new access road for the 181st.  To coincide with the new road, the 181st will build a new gate they say will add to the safety and security of both the public and base personnel.

“The new construction will be in accordance with new standards for the Air National Guard and the Air Force in coordination with the requirements for the Terre Haute International Airport,” said Lt. Col. Frank Howard of the 181st Intelligence Wing.

He said this project will also allow for growth for both the Air Guard and airport.  The new gate will replace the former gate to the base, and a temporary gate that’s in place until the new one opens this fall.

Currently, you must take State Road 342 to get to the Air Guard base at Hulman Field.

Once the new access road and gate are complete, this road will be closed to public traffic and will serve as an access road for airport personnel. Airport Director Bill Foraker says this is key because the road way runs through a runway protection zone.

“The FAA does not like roads running through runway protection zones,” said Foraker. “Obviously a runway protection zone is to protect people from anything bad happening to them when aircraft get close to the ground.”

The access road will also give access to the Army National Guard’s new FMS #8 wheeled vehicle maintenance facility that’s currently under construction.

That facility is set to open next year. Meanwhile, construction on this access road will begin in the late spring or early summer, and the road will be finished in the fall.  It will be funded by the state.

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