HILL AIR FORCE BASE -- Residents living near the recently opened East Gate at Hill Air Force Base are worried about what the expected increase in traffic will do to their neighborhood.
On July 15, base officials closed the southwest entry gate and opened the seldom-used East Gate instead.
The southwest gate sits near 400 South and 1000 East in Clearfield, close to Hill Field Elementary School, while the East Gate is just north of State Road 193 on Fairfield Road in Layton.
Harry Briesmaster, Civil Engineering Group director at Hill, said the base is using the East Gate for the next two months to determine the viability of using the gate on a long-term or permanent basis.
Base officials estimate that eventually 2,000 to 4,000 vehicles will use the East Gate to access the base.
After a little more than a week, about 500 to 600 cars are coming in and out of the gate every day, Briesmaster said.
Layton resident Shane Rose lives near the East Gate and said he and his neighbors are worried about what will happen as traffic at the gate increases.
Fairfield Road dead ends just to the north of the gate, so there's only one way in and out of his neighborhood, he said.
"If the traffic backs up at the East Gate like it does sometimes at the south gate, we won't be able to get in and out," Rose said. "Our whole neighborhood was pretty much in an uproar when we found out the gate was opening."
He said he and his neighbors were never alerted that the gate would be opening.
Briesmaster said Hill didn't consult Layton city before opening the gate, but it would do so if officials decide to open the gate beyond the 60-day trial period.
"We're looking at traffic on and off of the base related to this gate," he said. "If we decide to open the gate permanently, we will consult with Layton city and share that information."
Ben Hart, economic specialist for the city, said that since learning the gate has opened, the city has put new lane striping on Fairfield Road north of SR 193 and sent a motorcycle patrolman to regularly monitor the area.
"We're trying to do everything we can to make sure it's a smooth transition," he said. "We want to make sure everything is in place to make sure residents feel comfortable."
The base will try to do the same, Briesmaster said.
"When you have 25,000 people coming to work every day at one location, that is obviously going to create some traffic, but we are addressing all of the issues to try and create the best possible traffic flow for everyone," he said.
The East Gate is open from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. It is closed on from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. weekdays, on weekends and all federal holidays.