Engineers prepare for Phase 2 of Wilson Road construction

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It’s that time of year again — time for road construction on Fort Knox’s Wilson Road.

Earlier this week, officials said Phase 2 of a multiphase construction project, which began in mid-November 2017, is set to start April 23, weather permitting. It will involve a longer stretch of road on the inbound two lanes and, therefore, will require more time to complete.

“[Phase 1] was probably a third of the scope of this one,” said Pat Walsh, director of Public Works. “This one’s probably twice the area.”

The stretch of road on which engineers will focus their attention starts about 1/2 mile south of the traffic light at Vinnedge Street and ends right near the intersection.

Walsh said the problems that led to the repair of Wilson Road near the gate last year are the same that affect the Phase 2 stretch. As a result, much of the plan to divert traffic will be the same.

“It’ll be similar to the last one as far as the detours and going to two-way streets, except that it’ll be over a longer stretch and it’ll take longer; the detour will be in place longer because of having to cover the additional length on this one,” said Walsh. “For the customers, it should be very similar to the detour they experienced last fall.”

However, one difference in the plan is how residents of Anderson Greens will exit their community. According to DPW officials, they will be allowed to turn right onto Wilson Road at the traffic light, but not left.

The problem started a few years ago when the subbase material in the road failed. The deterioration and subsequent slumping of the asphalt in several locations created a need two years ago to fix the road sooner rather than later, according to DPW officials.

“We got it funded about a year ago. We started last fall but there wasn’t enough time to get Phase 1 and Phase 2 done, and we didn’t want to leave that road tore up all winter long.”

Walsh said the concern with accomplishing both phases during the winter was battling weather and creating more stress on commuters.

“In that area of construction, where you’ve got four lanes you’ve actually got two and it’s two-way traffic. We didn’t want to leave all that detour stuff in place all winter long, so we made a conscious decision just to finish Phase 1 so we’d have four lanes over the winter,” said Walsh. “We barely got Phase 1 done before winter hit.”

The majority of those who will be affected by the detour are employees working at U.S. Army Human Resources Command and residents of Anderson Greens. In fact, the move of HRC to Fort Knox facilitated the expansion of Wilson Road to four lanes in the first place, said Walsh.

“The only fix to it, really, is to completely dig it out and reset the base, and improving the drainage while we’re there so it doesn’t happen again,” said Walsh.

Walsh said he expects that members of the community will again make the necessary adjustments in this phase when the detour goes into effect.

“When we did it last fall, based on feedback from customers and from [Directorate of Emergency Services], it was an inconvenience but there wasn’t a lot of traffic issues associated with going down to the two lanes. It really went fairly well the last time we did it.”

Editor’s Note: Those who discover a pothole forming anywhere on Fort Knox are asked to report it immediately to DPW at usarmy.knox.imcom-atlantic.mbx.dpw-work-orders@mail.mil. n