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Eielson Air Force Base opens gate for $500M building project to prep for F-35s

FAIRBANKS, Alaska — Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks is opening a gate that workers will use for a $500 million construction project so that the base can receive 54 new F-35 fighter jets scheduled to arrive in 2020.

The opening of the gate will give construction crews easier access to the base starting Thursday, The Daily News-Miner reported.

The construction work will include a building to house an F-35 simulator, a new munitions storage facility and a maintenance hangar.

The Air Force also plans to add 36 buildings and 420,000 square feet (39,018 square meters) of infrastructure to the base over the next several years.

Hangars that previously housed A-10 "warthog" planes will be remodeled so they can house the base's F-16 fighter jets.

Hundreds of military personnel are expected to be added to the base with the arrival of the F-35s.

Some Alaska officials have said a housing crunch is expected to coincide with the influx of service members tied to the incoming pair of F-35 squadrons coming to the base.

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