TOWN OF NIAGARA — The Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station will soon have a new main entrance gate to greet those entering the military base.

Work will include the construction of a new entrance processing facility, extending entrance avenue, an installation security facility with new barricade systems, and renovating the installation’s visitors center.

The main gate will officially close on Oct. 17, after which all traffic will be directed through two other entrances, on Tuscarora Road and Walmore Road. During that time, the Tuscarora Road gate will be used to enter the installation, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, while the Walmore Road gate will be used as the exit. The Tuscarora Road gate will be used for both entrances and exits during the hours of 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Work is expected to last approximately two years and be completed in 2024.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded a $10.6 million construction contract to Butt Construction Company of Dayton, Ohio to carry out the work. The company previously working on the Building 800 renovations on the Air Reserve Station’s grounds, which were completed in 2018.

Col. Lara Morrison, the commander of the 914th Air Refueling Wing based at the Air Reserve Station, said this main gate redesign will enhance the base’s capability to provide enhanced safety measures. The current gate welcomes all the base’s guests, protects 20 different models of airplanes, is one of the gateways to the runway it shares with the Niagara Falls International Airport, and provides access to over $1 billion in assets that provide a critical role in national security.

“Our new gate is another step closer to modernizing our base and providing this installation with property security, while still allowing for base access,” Morrison said.

Planned construction on the main gate was announced back in April. Chris Rizzo, the base’s civil engineer, said that plans have been discussed for at least the last five years.

“We have thousands of airmen, soldiers, sailors, marines, (Department of Defense) civilians, and visitors who pass through the gates every week,” Morrison said. “When they come to the gate and they’re greeted by security forces personnel, it’s often their good morning and a reminder that someone is always on the watch.”

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