Today at Berkeley Lab

Grizzly Gate Gets Gussied Up

For many lab employees, the Grizzly Gate has been the choice of exits. But for the last few months, the gate has been under constant construction with limited access. So, what’s happening? A host of improvements.

A set of high-speed folding gates will replace the old rolling wire fence gate. The new gate has also moved down a few feet allowing for a pedestrian and bicycle entry and exit lane for safer access.

It’s all part of a plan sponsored by DOE’s Office of Health, Safety and Security (HSS) and Office of Science (SC) to improve technology and streamline accessibility across the national laboratories.

“We’ve been working with HSS and SC to define areas of improvement at the Lab since 2011,” says Deputy Director of Operations Gita Meckel. “We had to flesh out the requirements of the projects by having stakeholder meetings. We wanted to see what lab employees wanted with the new gates access. For example, having a dedicated bike and pedestrian path at Grizzly Gate was the result of these sessions.”

The new remodel will also come with new technology. A camera will automatically read registered license plates, allowing entry 24×7 and dispensing with the need to show a parking permit (you will still need the permit for parking privileges). And, don’t worry if you’re in a vehicle that is not registered with the Lab, there will be a card reader to swipe your badge to let you in as well. And, if you’ve forgotten that, there’ll now be an intercom linked to Blackberry Gate.

In addition to the modifications at Grizzly Gate, license plate reader technology is planned for Blackberry Gate as well. The idea, says Meckel, is to streamline 24×7 entry for employees with registered license plates.

“This work really required a joint effort amongst numerous parties,” adds Ian White, the project manager. “The new technology—the software and networking—is bringing IT into play, and then you have Facilities and EHSS involved.”

By late-September the bulk of the physical construction should be complete, allowing access to the gate similar to before construction started: open from 6:30 AM to 2:30 PM and auto-activated on exit.

The automation portion—having the license plate readers activate the gate—is expected to be fully operational by early December as there is still significant integration of systems and equipments needed. More information and training will occur closer to the launch of the systems.

All in all, White says, these improvements should be a welcome addition to a popular passage, making the gates accessible 24×7 and creating a safe passage for pedestrians and bicyclists.