Q: What's going on with the exit closure at Joint Base Lewis-McChord this summer?
A: This column is especially for all of you who commute to and from JBLM everyday, which is a lot of people. JBLM is the biggest employer in the county with around 60,000 full-time employees.
Base spokesman Joe Piek says about 17,000 people come into the base through Exit 120 off I-5 each day, and about 14,000 people use it to leave the base daily.
For all of you Exit 120 users, here is your warning that you're going to have to adjust your habits this summer.
Exit 120, the Lewis Main Liberty Gate, will be closed to outbound traffic to I-5 from June 1 through the end of September, and only two of the four access lanes will be open for incoming traffic while they do construction work there. Piek said the base is recommending people avoid using that exit.
"The other gates on the installation have sufficient capacity to manage that for inbound and outbound," Piek said. "We’re working a month early to get the word out to all our employees to be sure you're prepared to find a different gate to use, because people habitually use the same gate all the time.
"We’ve got the DuPont gate at Exit 119, the Madigan gate at Exit 122, the Logistics Center gate, which is off of Exit 123. So there are plenty of other gates and access points to the base."
According to a post on the JBLM official Facebook page, construction work will include:
▪ Pavement repair
▪ Improving lane alignment
▪ Improvements to the Visitors Center parking area
▪ Improvements to the Access Control Point and the historic Camp Lewis Gate appearance
Piek said while some have commented on the Facebook page that it's not an ideal time of year to reduce access to an exit, they have to do so to get the construction work done during the summer, while the weather cooperates.