Some squeaky wheels got oil for their dusty road Tuesday night.
Several residents of Old Trails Road northwest of Spokane complained to county commissioners that dust churned up by heavy traffic on their unpaved street is threatening their health and lifestyles.
Several of them asked commissioners to restrict through traffic on the road, a popular shortcut from northwest Spokane to the airport.
The road runs on the west side of the Spokane River, roughly between Euclid and Seven Mile roads.
Commissioners stopped short of that action after several other people said the road is their main connection to their homes and businesses in the Seven Mile area and beyond.
During peak driving times in the summer, visibility is almost zero on Old Trails because of dust, neighbors testified.
“The dust is so thick on that road that you can’t see when you’re driving,” Lois Hendricks said.
Donna Robins said she feared for the health of her children, who are forced to breath the dusty air that drifts off the road.
It should be closed to through traffic, Robins said.
Others said closing the road would be a real inconvenience to them, and many suggested paving the road as a solution to the dust problem.
“I don’t want to be isolated,” said Kirk Hansen, who lives near the intersection of Old Trails and Seven Mile roads. “It’s not like the county can’t fix it.”
Bill Bailey of Tum Tum agreed.
“A lot of people who live out there use that road, and we’d hate to see it closed,” Bailey said.
Tough, was Bill Hooe’s response.
“They don’t live on it,” said Hooe, an Old Trails resident for 51 years. “They use it back and forth, but we get all the dust and all the traffic.”
Commissioners decided to compromise.
They voted to leave the road open, but to have county crews oil it to keep dust down.
They also will have road crews post the road to restrict truck traffic to local deliveries only.
In addition, Commissioner Phil Harris said he would ask Sheriff John Goldman to patrol the road more often in an effort to discourage speeders.
Fast-moving cars kick up more dust.
Commissioners also pledged county money to pave the road if residents there also are willing to participate.
They said the county would pick up half the $400,000 cost of paving nearly three miles of the road. The county usually only kicks in about 15 percent.
Old Trails residents will vote on the paving project later this year.
“I’ll guarantee you, we’re not going to stop until we do something,” said Harris, whose district encompasses the area.