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Military Puts Safety First With Manchester Road Closing

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FAYETTEVILLE — Every day several hundred people take a shortcut throughFort Bragg, but an expansion project nearPope Air Force Baseis going to close the road soon.

On May 1, a two and a half mile stretch of Manchester Road will become off limits. The signs are ready to be unveiled, the gates are ready to close.

"I think it's going to inconvenience a lot of people," says Hattie Brown.

Brown lives in a mobile home right next to the road. She says winding through traffic in nearbySpring Lakewill add about 15 minutes to her trip.

"I'm used to going out three or four times a day in and out of here," Brown says. "Just to avoid traffic I'll stay home, just to avoid traffic unless I have to go somewhere."

There are other ways to get betweenCumberlandandHokeandMoorecounties, but Manchester Road is one of the more popular shortcuts.

Lt. Col. Rick Spearman says the road must be closed for safety reasons.

Access to Manchester Road must be limited by law, now that new storage facilities along the road are being completed. The facilities will house ammunition and other items to be used in a deployment.

The area is part of the expansion of Green Ramp, where soldiers and cargo are loaded ontoAir Forceplanes for deployments.

"There's a safety arc that crosses Manchester Road," Spearman says. "We have regulatory guidance that says it's not safe."

Fort Bragg is considering leaving the road open until after theU.S. Openin Pinehurst this June.