• Good news: JBLM reopens main gate after four-month closure

    By: Shelby Miller


    JBLM - There’s good news for drivers in the South Sound.

    Joint Base Lewis-McChord opened back up its Lewis Main Liberty Gate Friday, which sits off I-5 at Exit 120.

    “Being that it’s the main gate, everything is right there. The Commissary, the BX, where we take the kids for the recreation activities, there’s a big park, so I to get on that side of base pretty often, so we have to reroute, so, of course, those other gates are backed up,” said Daisy Keehu.

    Keehu lives on base. Since June, she’s had to divert her daily life. Friday that changed.

    “Ah, it’s awesome! It makes my life much easier,” she said.

    Keehu isn’t the only one happy the project is over. 

    According to JBLM, about 209,000 people live on post, making it the fourth largest base in the country.

    “Traffic has been horrible. I joke that some people call I-5 a highway and some people call it a parking lot,” said Melissa Velisek.

    She said it’s often stop-and-go in both directions near base, from Lakewood to Olympia.

    JBLM’s project manager said in June that 30,000 people drive in and out of  the main gate daily. 

    The four-month construction project improved failing pavement, lane alignment, the Lewis Main Visitors Center parking area, Access Control Point appearance and the historic Camp Lewis Gate. 

    “Anything they can do to relieve the I-5 traffic and keep cars moving is great,” said Velisek. 

    The Visitors Center, which was also under construction, reopens Saturday.

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