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Morning road closure keeps Soldiers safe during PT

One of the signs posted along Ruf Avenue when the road is closed to help keep Soldiers conducting physical training safe. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

One of the signs posted along Ruf Avenue when the road is closed to help keep Soldiers conducting physical training safe. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Published: January 21, 2016

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (Jan. 21, 2016) -- Early morning physical training is a familiar sight on any post, and post officials want to remind people driving in the early hours that the closure of Ruf Avenue during weekday mornings is critical to Soldier safety.

Ruf Avenue is closed for runners and cyclists Mondays-Fridays from 5:30-7:15 a.m., according to Sgt. Maj. Marvin Pinckney, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence G-3 sergeant major.

During these hours, no privately owned vehicles are allowed on Ruf Avenue except for designated crossing points at Novosel and Ruf, Red Cloud and Ruf, and Division and Ruf, where road guards are posted to allow vehicles to cross safely.

“This closure allows formations to run safely without the hazard of vehicular interruption,” explained Chief Marcel Dumais, Fort Rucker chief of police. “Unit formations are able to run without having to stop for approaching vehicles or vehicles crossing the PT route.”

According to the G-3 sergeant major, Ruf Avenue was chosen as the official run route because it is the straightest road, is well lit, and is the road that officials can control most easily.

“We would choke up Fort Rucker if we chose a different road,” he said. “It was determined many years ago that it was the best choice to have a protected run route.”

Vehicles on the road were a severe problem that Fort Rucker faced in years past, but thanks to the concrete columns, reflective signs and bright ropes, Pinckney said that the problem of POVs driving on the road has been dramatically decreased.

“The ropes were installed in 2013 as a more active measure to prevent vehicles from crossing where they are not supposed to, and this has greatly reduced violations,” he said.
The road closure is nothing new to long-time residents, but new arrivals to Fort Rucker might find themselves searching for a way across post. If drivers come up to the street, Pinckney said they should turn around or back up to avoid crossing Ruf Avenue until it is safe to do so.

According to Dumais, the roads, once closed, are marked by barriers across all access roads onto Ruf Avenue, and crossing at non-designated crossing points is not only prohibited, but extremely dangerous for Soldiers.

Pinckney has advice for those who would still consider ignoring the postings when no one is around.

“Don’t even think about it – it’s dangerous,” he said. “Just because no one is in the immediate area doesn’t mean it’s OK. It’s about being disciplined enough to not disobey the rules.”

The regulations are in place for the safety of Soldiers, and although they might serve as an inconvenience for early-morning drivers, Pinckney said that there can’t be a price put on safety.

In addition, violating the safety regulation can cause more damage than the citation and fine, he said.

“The MPs are out and patrolling the areas. Besides being ticketed, a driver could potentially have their driving privileges on the installation revoked,” said the G-3 sergeant major. “Plus, you could kill someone.”

For more information or questions regarding early-morning road closures, call 255-2222 or 255-2511.

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