Two different gate road designs, located within the Pocahontas No. 3 Seam on Island Creek Coal property, were evaluated by the U.S. Bureau of Mines using two detailed instrument arrays and in-mine observations. The state-of-the-art instrumentation arrays consisted of stainless steel, borehole-platened flatjacks used to indicate changes in pillar stress, coal extensometers for measuring pillar dilation, convergence stations for measuring roof-to-floor closure, a differential roof-sag indicator, and a differential floor-heave indicator. A permissible data acquisition system was employed to continuously monitor coalbed stress and roof-to-floor convergence in hazardous areas. The resulting improved gate road design will permit high-extraction, retreat longwall mining through bump-prone conditions, with the minimal risk of destructive face bumps. Insight into what determines the ultimate strength of coal pillars and the effects of yield zone confinement at pillar failure have further advanced the current knowledge of bump prevention based on longwall gate road design.