FORT BRAGG, N.C. – The Directorate of Public Works and Fire and Emergency Services Division are preparing for an influx of more than 40,000 soldiers, families and civilians by 2011. This influx is due to the U.S. Army Forces Command and U.S. Army Reserve Command’s transition from McPherson, Ga., to Fort Bragg, N.C., due to the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission closing 20 military bases worldwide.
The DPW is continually evaluating how much money is needed to meet Fort Bragg’s needs, said Daryl Butler, a civil engineer with DPW.
“A transportation improvement study is being conducted, assessing where we need to focus our funding to improve roads, intersections and parking,” added the Hope Mills, N.C., native.
This is the fourth transportation improvement study conducted since 2007, and is helping DPW find locations to expand on Fort Bragg.
“We know there are growing pains,” said Butler. “Traffic backups create delays getting on and off post. We’re looking at ways to streamline, like changing signal timing, getting more funding, building new construction and widening the roads.”
Auch believes these delays can create more than a hassle for commuters, but for emergency services, such delays can mean the difference between life and death.
Increased traffic is a major issue effecting first responder, but if people avoid stopping in intersections and pull to the left and yield to emergency vehicles, the DES can provide service to the Fort Bragg community more efficiently, said Auch.
Yielding to emergency vehicles will also assist the provost marshals office as they begin to utilize updated equipment to help combat crime.
“The PMO has increased the number of military police,” said Daniel Bjorklund, the chief of operations for the PMO. “Law enforcement is also in the process of updating the technology package in each patrol vehicle.”
Technology packages include radios, lights, sirens, public address systems, control modules, radar, cameras and mobile data terminals.
A mobile data terminal is a computer designed to connect to the division of criminal information. This allows the military police to query vehicles and driver’s information from the department of motor vehicles for identification.
“It provides a link to all national law enforcement agencies to share information, such as warrants and stolen vehicles,” said Bjorklund.
Despite the problems that increased traffic could pose, the DES is dedicated to ensuring public safety.
“The Provost Marshal’s Office division of DES is committed to making the law enforcement transition during BRAC as seamless as possible to ensure the best quality of service for our community,” said Bjorklund.