MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- In another quality of life initiative, the Installations and Environment Department, Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune has contracted a local construction company and begun work on erecting a canopy over the Main Gate entrance. The structure, which is slated to stand 70 feet wide, 40 feet long and 19 feet high, will serve to protect the Marines standing watch from the elements and to welcome all who enter the Marine Corps Base. “The primary purpose of the new canopy at the main gate is force protection. It will protect those standing guard duty from the elements, especially during heavy downpours. Combined with the much improved lighting that the new canopy will bring, the inspection capabilities at the main gate will be much improved as well,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. Barry Rocker, the facility chief with Installations and Environment Department, Marine Corp Base. “But, there may be a few complications that could affect the flow of traffic during the construction phase.”Until now there has been only minor disruptions to traffic during non-peak hours in order to remove shrubs, construct foundations, and relocate power poles and lines.Traffic impacts should become more significant now that the project is in full swing and those who live and work onboard Camp Lejeune need to plan ahead to avoid long waits, according to Rocker. During Weekdays, all lanes will be open and functioning normally during the morning, lunch and afternoon rush hours. However, between rush hours one lane may be closed at any time. Also, during the first three weekends in December and then again during the month of January, an alternate traffic pattern will be implemented to eliminate hazards related to overhead work. Also, between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekends when the alternate traffic pattern is in place, the Piney Green Gate will be open for traffic. There may also be occasions when the alternate traffic pattern is implemented between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m. on weeknights.The canopy, which will cost more that $480,000, is scheduled for completion in Feb. of 2006 and will serve as a great addition to the installation.