Gate tweaks affect traffic, access at Walter Reed and Navy facilities

Walter Reed is one of many military installations whose security protocols are being increased or modified. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

Ramped-up security at United States military installations, due to ongoing tension in the Middle East, will affect employees and patients at Walter Reed Military Medical Center and Naval Support Activity Bethesda in Maryland.

Seated on the east side of Maryland Route 355/Wisconsin Avenue, across from the National Institutes of Health, NSA Bethesda is restricting the number of gates open during the week and weekend.

“The Department of Defense, U.S. Navy, and their subordinate commands, including NSA Bethesda, are constantly evaluating security requirements across the world,” according to a news release from NSAB, which “implemented operational changes based on current security requirements.”

With the changes, two of the installation’s gates will be closed, while three will be open, with some changes.

“Traffic in the area surrounding the installation will be significantly impacted during weekday commuting hours,” according to the release.

The hospital put out an automated phone message to patients with scheduled appointments, saying delays will affect patients and providers.

Until further notice, the changes include:

Gate 1 (Visitor Center/North Gate) — Open 24/7

Gate 2 (South Gate, across from Metro):

  • Open to inbound and outbound traffic only from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m., Monday through Friday
  • Open to all vehicle traffic from 9 a.m to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.
  • Automated pedestrian turnstiles access remains available 24/7
  • ADA swing gates will remain open from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • Closed on weekends.

Gate 3 (NEX Gate)

  • Open to inbound vehicle traffic only from 5 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., Monday through Friday.
  • Open to outbound vehicle traffic only from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.
  • Closed to all pedestrian traffic.

Gate 4 (Navy Lodge) — Closed to vehicles and pedestrians until further notice

Gate 5 (USU Gate) — Open 5 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday for taxis, delivery vehicles and non-DoD vehicle traffic.

All non-DoD personnel without official identification (CAC, DBIDS, etc.) traveling by personal vehicle should proceed Gate 5 (USU Gate) for vetting and vehicle inspection.

Employees and visitors at Joint Base Anacostia Bolling and Marine Corps Base Quantico are also experiencing additional security.

WTOP’s Traffic Center received calls on Monday of expanding delays for various locations throughout the region.

“Listeners toward Quantico reported the gate delays with extensive ID checks spilling onto I-95, US-1 and VA-610 Garrisonville Road,” WTOP’s Mary DePompa said. “We also heard from those working toward JBAB and the Navy Yard via I-295 toward D.C.”

In Bethesda, delays formed on the Beltway, Connecticut Avenue and Jones Bridge Road getting toward the limited access at NSA.

Military installations across the U.S. are seeing advanced security.

“While we will not discuss specifics, U.S. Northern Command is implementing additional force protection condition measures to increase security and awareness for all installations in the U.S. NORTHCOM area of responsibility,” Lt. Cmdr. Michael Hatfield told WTOP.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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